CDC: Progress on HIV Epidemic in U.S. Stalled Since 2013

Truvada

Truvada

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 1.2 million people are at risk of contracting HIV. The plan seeks to reduce new HIV infections by 75% in 5 years and 90% by 2030.

"The number of people who acquire HIV each year is unacceptably high", said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, and STD Prevention.

President Donald Trump pledged to eliminate HIV transmission within 10 years during his State of the Union address earlier this year, noting that science had "brought a once-distant dream within reach". But not enough people who have HIV know they have the virus and too many with the virus are not getting treatment.

Between 2013 and 2017, the number of new HIV infections in the USA has hovered around 38,000 each year. "However, PrEP coverage among whites was seven times as high as that among blacks and four times as high as that among Hispanics/Latinos, suggesting that PrEP delivery to persons in racial/ethnic minority populations has not been equitable", the report states. "These findings underscore the urgent need to rapidly scale up HIV testing, treatment and PrEP [pre-exposure prophylaxis]".

As part of the Trump administration's new HIV initiative, the government plans to offer free PrEP to people who are uninsured. To qualify for the program, participants must test negative for HIV, have a valid prescription for the medication and not have any prescription drug coverage.

"Ready, Set, PrEP is a historic expansion of access to HIV prevention medication and a major step forward in President Trump's plan to end the HIV epidemic in America".

The program will cover 100% of the cost of the medication, but it won't cover the costs of clinic visits and lab tests that an individual would need to obtain or renew a PrEP prescription.

Azar said that the department has set up a hotline (855-447-8410) and website (GetYourPrEP.com) for people to sign up for the program.

Gilead will donate PrEP for up to 200,000 individuals each year through 2030, and starting March 30, the donated medication will be available through mail order from the participating pharmacies, who will also provide patient counseling and waive their dispensing fees.

The outlet reported that the pharmaceutical company's patent for the active ingredient in Truvada, which is the company's HIV prevention drug, will expire in 2021 and prohibits the majority of competitors from duplicating the medication.

A less expensive, generic version of Truvada is anticipated to enter the market next fall.

Azar said that without insurance, daily doses of prEP can cost up to $2,000 dollars per month - That is, until now.

The 90-90-90 goals translate to 90% of all people with HIV knowing their status, 90% of all people living with HIV receiving treatment and 90% of those diagnosed with HIV who are on treatment being virally suppressed.

The introduction of PrEP helped cities like NY, once the at heart of the nation's deadly AIDS crisis, bring new infections to their lowest level on record past year.

HHS has provided funding to allow three communities - Baltimore; DeKalb County, Georgia; and East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana - to test key parts of the national initiative that aims to end the HIV epidemic. Essex County is the only other county in New Jersey in the program.

The US President failed to mention LGBT+ people in his World AIDS Day proclamation issued on Sunday.

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