HIV awareness groups say improved access to the medication is necessary if infection rates are to be lowered.
Medication intended to stop HIV before it infects an individual is identified as a key component of the current White House strategy to combat the deadly virus.
Recently, the White House revised its national HIV/AIDS strategy, intended to better control the virus’ spread.
One of the plan’s most controversial aspects is making pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) available by access to such medications as Tenvir. HIV-negative people who may be at high risk for the disease should take the daily pill. Tenvir was legally approved in 2012.
The U.S. Disease Control and Prevention Centers (CDC) reports that in 2010, young gay and bisexual men accounted for 72 percent of new HIV infections.
Who acts as a liaison between the HIV Medicine Association and the board of directors of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said the statistical means “we can not afford to not increase access to PrEP.”
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PrEP should be provided by insurers as other successful preventive measures, in addition to helping those who need it with no other source of coverage through federal funding. inclusion of PrEP and other scientific developments in the strategy is significant given the ability of PrEP to potentially reduce new infections when taken as directed.
Another purpose of the initiative is to eradicate the virus in those who have it already. Often, PrEP is seen as a vital part of the strategy.
Around 50,000 HIV cases emerge each year, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Around two-thirds of them are bisexual and gay men. HRC notes that women with transgender status are also particularly susceptible to HIV.
Tari Hanneman, HRC’s deputy Health and Aging Program chief, said her organization has endorsed PrEP. She said HRC has urged insurers, policymakers, and drug manufacturers to make PrEP accessible to all people who qualify irrespective of their socioeconomic status.
A Timely Update
Some aspects have improved since the White House plan first came out in 2010 that could have a major effect on U.S. efforts to treat and prevent HIV and AIDS.
At least 1.2 million people are HIV-positive in the United States. Among such, it is estimated that 1 in 8 do not know that they have the illness. Around 30 percent of people with HIV have the virus suppressed so it can’t be transmitted.
The White House would like new numbers of diagnoses to fall by at least 25 percent and the death rate to fall by at least 33 percent.
Aberg said that, for the first time since the ACA came into practice, more people with HIV and more people at risk for HIV would have access to insurance coverage.
Not too long ago, about 25 percent of HIV patients were unaware of their status. The number of people with HIV unaware of their status has fallen to about 13 percent with a concerted effort to test people for HIV.
The AIDS Research Foundation (amfAR) conducted a study on how the federal initiative could be applied. They also called for increased Medicaid access in it.
The program is the primary source of health care coverage under the ACA for the majority of uninsured people living with HIV. Twenty-one states did not expand Medicaid according to the survey. That includes 10 southern states, an area disproportionately affected by HIV / AIDS.
“As we are looking to introduce the National HIV / AIDS Plan for the next five years, we hope that state officials and community partners can see this as a useful tool to help improve their HIV initiatives and make more progress towards ending the AIDS epidemic in America,” said Brian Herrmann, senior policy advisor for amfAR and co-author of the report.
What’s Next in Fighting the Disease?
I think the plan is practical but, in addition to federal initiatives, it will require broad community involvement and funding to execute it effectively.
These changes are “important to assessing the progress of efforts to prevent HIV and to make mid-course adjustments as required in programs.