Trump administration to give free HIV prevention drugs to uninsured

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The Trump administration said Dec. 3 it is starting a program that will give people without prescription drug coverage access to HIV prevention drugs, according to STAT.

Called Ready, Set, PrEP, the program will be available for people who test negative for HIV, have a valid prescription for HIV prevention drugs and do not have prescription drug coverage. The administration estimates roughly 200,000 people could benefit from the program, according to STAT.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, drugs reduce the risk of HIV infection, but are very expensive, preventing many people at risk of HIV infection from taking them. HHS Secretary Alex Azar told STAT that in the U.S., about 1.2 million people are at risk of HIV infection, but only about 18 percent of them have a prescription for PrEP. 

The PrEP drugs will be supplied by Gilead, which the Trump administration sued Nov. 6, accusing the company of infringing on HHS patents for its PrEP drugs.

The new program is part of a larger federal initiative to cut the number of HIV infections by 90 percent by 2030, according to STAT

The program does not cover the cost of medical appointments or lab tests needed to qualify for the program. It also will not lower the overall cost of PrEP, which is more than $20,000 a year.

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