Program Gives Uninsured Free HIV Prevention Drugs

Dec. 4, 2019 -- A new program to provide free HIV prevention drugs to people who can't afford them because they don't have health insurance was announced Tuesday by the U.S. government.

Use of these daily drugs -- called PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) -- significantly reduces the risk that a person who is HIV-free will contract the AIDS-causing virus through sex or injection drug use, the Associated Press reported.

However only about 18% of the 1.2 million Americans who might benefit from the medications got a prescription last year, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Without insurance, the drugs can cost a person up to $2,000 a month, the AP reported.

Expanding access to PrEP is an important part of the federal government's aim of ending the nation's HIV epidemic by 2030.

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