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How Much Does Truvada for PrEP Cost?

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on May 29, 2020

Truvada is a type of drug that helps reduce the risk of HIV infection, which is called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). It blocks an enzyme that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) needs to copy itself inside your body.

When you take Truvada every day, it can lessen the chance that you’ll get HIV from sex by about 99%, and from injecting drugs by about 74%. The one downside to Truvada is that it's very expensive for people who don't have health insurance.

How much does a Truvada prescription cost?

A month’s supply of Truvada is nearly $2,000 without insurance. Most private health insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid will cover the cost. But private insurers may charge high copayments -- the amount you have to pay out of pocket for the drug.

In 2019, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force -- a panel of disease prevention experts -- recommended that doctors prescribe PrEP for anyone at high risk for HIV. That includes men who have sex with men, straight people who might catch HIV through sex, and people who inject drugs.

Because of this decision, most health insurance plans will be required to cover Truvada and the other PrEP drug, Descovy. If you're in an at-risk group, you shouldn't have to pay anything out of pocket. In the meantime, assistance programs could help you cover the cost of PrEP if you qualify for them.

What assistance programs can help?

Here are some of the programs that will cover some or all the cost of Truvada:

Advancing Access Medication Assistance Program

Who sponsors it: Gilead, the maker of Truvada

What it covers: Out-of-pocket costs for Truvada, up to $7,200 per year. It doesn't cover the costs of doctor visits or lab tests.

Who is eligible: People who don't have health insurance, or whose health insurance won't cover Truvada. There are no income restrictions.

Ready, Set, PrEP

Who sponsors it: The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and Gilead, which donates 2.4 million bottles of Truvada and Descovy to the program each year

What it covers: The cost of Truvada

Who is eligible: People who don't have prescription drug coverage, have tested negative for HIV, and have a prescription for Truvada

Co-Pay Relief Program

Who sponsors it: The Patient Advocate Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps people with chronic or life-threatening diseases

What it covers: Out-of-pocket costs for Truvada, up to $7,500 per year. It doesn't cover the costs of doctor visits or lab tests.

Who is eligible: People who don't have health insurance, or whose insurance plan doesn't cover Truvada. Your income must be below 400% of the current federal poverty level.

Good Days

Who sponsors it: Good Days, a nonprofit organization that offers resources for people who don't have access to health care

What it covers: Out-of-pocket costs for Truvada, up to $7,500 per year

Who is eligible: People with Medicare or military insurance coverage whose income level is at or below 500% of the current federal poverty level

State programs

A few states have their own drug assistance programs that cover out-of-pocket expenses for PrEP. Some will also cover the costs of doctor visits and lab tests. Requirements to qualify for these programs differ by state.

States with PrEP assistance programs are:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • New York state
  • Ohio
  • Washington state

To learn about these programs, contact your state's department of public health.

Is there a generic version?

Generic drugs work the same way as the brand-name versions. The difference is that generics usually cost less.

Right now, no generic drug is available for PrEP, but one should be soon. How much it will cost, and whether it will be cheaper than the brand-name version, is still unknown.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

AIDSinfo: "Emtricitabine/Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate."

Avert: "What is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PREP)?"

CDC: "Paying for PrEP," "PrEP."

FDA: "Generic Drug Facts."

Good Days: "Filling a Real Need," "HIV, AIDS Treatment & Prevention."

Greater Than AIDS: "Let's Talk About PrEP!"

JAMA: "Preexposure Prophylaxis for the Prevention of HIV Infection."

Kaiser Health News: "Even When HIV Prevention Drug is Covered, Other Costs Block Treatment."

NASTAD: "PrEP Assistance Programs."

Patient Advocate Foundation: "Frequently Asked Questions."

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: "Ending the HIV Epidemic: Ready, Set, PrEP."

AJMC.com: “Reactions Are Mixed as Gilead Announces PrEP Donations, Early Launch of Generic.”

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