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HIV Prevention Pill PrEP Is Now Free Under Most Insurance Plans—But the Latest Challenge To the Affordable Care Act Puts This Benefit at Risk  

Author:  Paul Shafer.; Kristefer Stojanovski.

Source: Volume 23, Number 01, Winter 2022 , pp.23-24(2)

Correctional Health Care Report

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Since the start of the HIV epidemic in 1981, over 700,000 Americans have lost their lives to AIDS. Being infected used to be a death sentence. But now, 40 years later, the U.S. is on the precipice of eradicating HIV. The U.S. “Ending the HIV Epidemic” initiative provides a road map to reduce new HIV infections by 90% by 2030. A key preventive strategy in this plan is preexposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, medicine that is almost 100% effective in preventing HIV infection when taken as prescribed. Today, Medicaid and Medicare cover PrEP at zero or low cost, and PrEP has been designated a required preventive service under the Affordable Care Act that almost all insurers must cover at no cost. But the latest challenge to the ACA has put these gains at risk. The authors of this article are public health researchers who study the ACA’s effects on preventive health usage and costs and HIV prevention and LGBTQ health. Because PrEP was only recently included as a required preventive service, there is limited evidence on how expanding PrEP coverage has affected access. But given that removing financial barriers has been shown to significantly increase access to other types of preventive care, this article argues that eliminating free HIV prevention would be a big step backward in the goal to eradicate HIV.

Keywords: Preexposure Prophylaxis (PrEP); HIV/AIDS

Affiliations:  1: Boston University; 2: Tulane University .

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