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After Public Backlash, Publix Will Now Cover HIV Prevention Medication

Publix reverses decision not to cover HIV prevention medication.
Miami Herald File
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

After several news stories highlighted that Publix routinely denies employees access to  HIV prevention medication and growing outcry on social media, the grocery store chain announced a change of course Tuesday.

On its official Twitter account, Publix said it will now cover Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)--a medication that reduces the risk of catching of HIV. Florida leads the country in new HIV cases. 

On Twitter, Publix responded to questions stating that it evaluated "what is covered by our health plan and have made the decision to expand our health plan’s coverage of Truvada to include Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). We are working with our pharmacy benefits manager to implement this change as quickly as possible."

We... 1/3— Publix (@Publix) February 6, 2018

The change in policy came less than 24 hours after the store's representatives met with state Rep. Carlos Smith, an Orlando Democrat.  During their meeting, Publix confirmed they did not cover PrEp.

According to Smith, the decision not to cover the HIV prevention drug came directly from the chain and not the medical insurance companies that cover employees. 

HIV cases in Florida have been on the rise since 2012, according to the state's Department of Health. Miami-Dade and Broward counties were Nos. 1 and 2 in the U.S. in new HIV infections in 2014 per 100,000 residents, according to state and federal data.

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Nadege Greencovers social justice issues for WLRN.