Published: Thu, February 08, 2018
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

Under fire, Publix reverses decision denying coverage for HIV prevention drug

Under fire, Publix reverses decision denying coverage for HIV prevention drug

PHARMAC estimates up to 4000 people with a high risk of contracting HIV will be eligible for PrEP treatment, which has the potential to nearly completely eliminate the risk of HIV infection.

The medicine, brand name Truvada, now costs $33 per day, but it'll be available for under $5 for a three-month supply from March 1.

The average lifetime cost of treating a person who becomes HIV positive at 35 is $449,000, and that doesn't include treating anyone else the person might infect, according to Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Holas said PrEP was important to end HIV, but was critical to use with other prevention methods, including promoting Treatment as Prevention (TaSP).

The drastic price cut (Truvada now costs about $30 per day in New Zealand) could go a long way toward widescale HIV prevention, as the discount will be targeted toward the most high-risk residents.

PrEP, also know as Truvada, helps protects against the HIV virus.

New Zealand is about to take a pioneering approach to fighting HIV/AIDS-by publicly funding pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication Truvada, manufactured by US biotech giant Gilead.

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Another massive win for NZAF was PHARMAC's decision to follow its advice and include trans men as being eligible to access the subsidized PrEP.

Large grocery store chain Publix has reversed its policy after strong public criticism and will henceforth be covering pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for employees at a high risk for HIV transmission.

PrEP is publicly funded in Scotland through the National Health Service and in the Canadian province of Ontario.

"PrEP is a necessary and urgent tool, and one of a new array of options in the fight to end HIV", Holas said.

"Providing affordable access to PrEP for those who need it will make an enormous difference to those most at risk of HIV transmission", executive director Jason Myers said.

In 2016 New Zealand recorded its highest number of new HIV cases ever in one year, with 244 people diagnosed.

'For too long, people living with HIV have born the brunt of expectation, responsibility, and blame when it comes to keeping the community safe from HIV. It's typically prescribed to HIV-negative gay men and those at high risk of infection.

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