US president Joe Biden has ordered nearly all healthcare insurers across the country to make PrEP – a type of HIV prevention drug – readily available at no cost to the public. According to NBC News, almost all known health insurance providers will have to comply with the order, meaning that obtaining a prescription to Truvada or Descovy will now be free to anyone with insurance.
The Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Labor and the Department of the Treasury sent the new guidance to health insurers on July 19. Insurance companies now have 60 days to adjust their services in line with the new regulations. Jim Pickett, senior director of prevention advocacy and gay men’s health at AIDS Foundation Chicago, told NBC News that improved accessibility to the vital medication “has the potential to wipe out many of the access obstacles we face with PrEP provision.”
In June, Biden called for the national Congress to boost funding for HIV/AIDS-related resources, 40 years since the first cases of the virus were reported in the country. He stated: “I have requested $670 million from Congress, an increase of $267 million over previous levels, to aggressively reduce new HIV cases by increasing access to treatment, expanding the use of preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and ensuring equitable access to services free from stigma and discrimination.”