On November 20, 2018, the National Policy Office of The AIDS Institute announced that the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a hearty endorsement of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for the prevention of HIV. The proposed “A” grade establishes PrEP as an effective HIV prevention tool. With this USPSTF recommendation, members of the AIDS Institute expect that clinicians will educate themselves about PrEP and prescribe it to their patients at risk of HIV. With the USPSTF seal of approval, the Institute expects to see an increase in the prescription of and use of PrEP, ultimately reducing the number of new HIV infections even further and moving us closer to the end of AIDS in the United States. There are currently about 40,000 new infections each year.
Although the use of PrEP has been increasing and studies have demonstrated that its use is bringing down the number of new HIV infections in certain areas, in other communities and areas most impacted by HIV, PrEP is not being utilized. There should be no excuse for clinicians not to recommend PrEP to people who are at risk of HIV. Additionally, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, private insurers must cover PrEP without cost-sharing. This recommendation by the USPSTF will help affordability and access to PrEP. There are also coverage opportunities offered by Medicaid and Medicare.
Comments on the draft recommendation are due December 26, 2018.
For more information, visit www.TheAIDSInstitute.org.
—Reporting by Hank Trout
Hank Trout, Editor at Large, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a thirty-eight-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his fiancé Rick. Follow him on Twitter @HankTroutWriter.