PrEP

HIV Prevention Drugs Are Available For Free: How Do You Get Them?

Dec 4, 2019

The Trump administration Tuesday unveiled a plan to distribute HIV prevention medication free to individuals who do not have prescription drug insurance coverage.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Monday that will make HIV-prevention drugs available without a prescription. It allows pharmacists to dispense both PrEP, or preexposure prophylaxis, and PEP, post-exposure prophylaxis.

When the first HIV drug, AZT, came to market in 1987, it cost $10,000 a year.

That price makes Peter Staley laugh today. "It sounds quaint and cheap now, but $10,000 a year at that time was the highest price ever set for any drug in history," he says.

In his State of the Union address this year, President Trump announced an initiative "to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years."

The man who pitched the president on this idea is Alex Azar, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

A new study suggests that many Florida men are still having unprotected sex despite telling their partners they're HIV positive.

Public health officials are expanding efforts to get the HIV prevention pill into the hands of those at risk, in a nationwide effort to curb infections. But the officials are hitting roadblocks — the drug's price tag, which has surged in recent years, and changes in insurance coverage that put a heftier financial burden on patients.

Flickr Creative Commons

Walgreens in Orlando and Kissimmee are partnering with the Orange County Department of Health to offer free HIV testing this week. 

Flickr (Creative Commons)

By the end of the year, most Florida Department of Health offices will offer a drug that if taken preventatively, can reduce the risk of contracting HIV. 

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.