Will Congress Give Americans Free PrEP?

Photo by Fakhri Labib on Unsplash

Could PrEP become free for the American masses?

Senator and Presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-CA) has introduced a new bill to the Senate floor this week. The bill would make the drug free for most US patients in an attempt to reduce HIV transmissions countrywide.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP is a drug that’s more than 92% effective in preventing new HIV infections. The drug currently comes in pill form and must be taken daily in order to be effective. Though, researchers are currently trying to create a new form for taking the drug such as a monthly injection.

Despite this highly effective drug already being available, only 7% of the U.S. populace have filled prescriptions for it, according to a 2016 report by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, a 2018 study found that use of PrEP by gay and bisexual men is only at 4.1%. Even further, gay and bisexual men of color use it even less.

With all of this in mind, Harris’ new bill hopes to make PrEP more accessible to those who need it. Then after introducing the bill to Congress, Harris released an official statement about the bill and issue.

“PrEP is a critical advancement in the fight against HIV that can finally provide peace of mind to Americans who live in the shadow of the HIV epidemic. But for too many in our country, lack of insurance coverage and exorbitant costs have put PrEP out of reach — and that needs to change. We must truly commit ourselves to HIV prevention by finally requiring every health insurance plan — public and private — to cover PrEP and all of the required tests and follow-up doctors’ visits. We must also provide the resources necessary to help people without insurance access PrEP. Nearly four decades since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS crisis that took so many lives and caused countless others to live in fear, we can and will stop the spread of this disease.”

To read the bill in its entirety, click this link here.

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