PrEPing for Assistance
So you went to the doctor’s office, and you had that awkward conversation about your sexual history. They've probably given you a thorough check-up. You then had to suffer through another needle jam as they collect blood work from you. You also think, "At least I don't have to take another HIV test for the next three months."
After all the necessary checks are done by your healthcare team, you’ve gotten new confidence in yourself and a prescription for PrEP in your hand. You go up to the pharmacist and hand them the prescription. Before they go back to get the medication ready for you, they let you know the cost. And that smile turns right upside down.
Only about ten percent of the 1.2 million Americans who need PrEP are receiving it and cost is a primary barrier.1 I wanted to look at a program offered by the government to help with this.
How is PrEP related to the Ending the HIV Epidemic plan?
The Department of Health and Human Services has rolled out an overall plan for ending the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030. The Plan is called Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America. The plan includes 4 key components:2
- Diagnose all people with HIV as early as possible
- Treat people rapidly and effectively to suppress the virus
- Prevent new transmissions using proven interventions like PrEP
- Respond quickly to new outbreaks and get resources to people that need it.
PrEP assistance with Ready, Set, PrEP
PrEP will be an integral part of this entire plan and, as a result, more money will be allocated towards drug assistance. The program is called Ready, Set, PrEP and is aimed at providing PrEP to thousands of individuals who qualify.
How can a person qualify?
In order to qualify, you have to test negative for HIV, have a valid prescription from your medical provider, and not currently have health insurance coverage for prescription drugs.3 Through this program, you would receive the medication free of charge. Clinic visits and lab test costs associated with PrEP may vary depending on how much money you make.3
How to sign-up for Ready,Set,PrEP
You or your healthcare provider can sign you up for the program at getyourprep.com or call the Department of Health and Human Services at (855) 447-8410.
What to expect
It is really important that you have your health care provider’s first and last name and phone number. The program administrators will need to verify the prescription from your medical provider to move on with the process. I think you may also expect a phone call from the team to verify other information with you.
PrEP assistance programs are important
I think that resources like this are important to increase access to all people and to alleviate the high cost of PrEP. I also want to look at additional resources available for drug assistance in future articles.
What are some unique barriers that you think keep PrEP from getting to the communities that need it? Comment below.
At what age were you diagnosed with HIV?