For over a decade there’s been an easy and highly effective way to prevent HIV. Two medications, Truvada and Descovy, often referred to as PrEP, have saved thousands of lives. But they are also very expensive. The good news is that this is changing. As Consumer Reports explains, these drugs are now available at no cost, which could mean they’ll help prevent more HIV infections, especially in at-risk populations.
Provisions in the Affordable Care Act require that most insurance plans cover the cost of PrEP as preventative care, as well as the cost of clinic visits and lab tests associated with the treatment.
For people who don’t have insurance, there’s now also a generic form of Truvada, which is just as effective and safe as the brand-name version and can be found for as little as $40 a month.
Still, experts worry that some people who could benefit from the drugs may continue to go without them.
That’s especially true for African American and Hispanic people who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are much more likely than white people to be diagnosed with HIV but much less likely to talk with a healthcare provider about the drugs.
Many patients might not know that the medications exist, so it’s important for clinicians and physicians to talk to their patients about PrEP and help them access it in a way that’s affordable and practical to use.
If you have questions or need more information about PrEP, Consumer Reports recommends talking with your medical provider and looking for information on the internet and from resources like local community health centers. Also, there are other programs that provide PrEP free of charge or at a reduced cost, such as Ready, Set, PrEP. To find services available in your area, go to hiv.gov.