PrEP Your Mail: A New Way to Receive HIV Prevention Medication
Last updated: April 2021
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) has developed a plan for America to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. The goal is to reduce new infection rates by 75 percent by 2025 and, ultimately, by 90 percent by 2030.1
What is PrEP?
In order to successfully eliminate the HIV epidemic, one key strategy is to treat and prevent new HIV transmissions by prescribing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
PrEP is a pill that, when taken daily, has proven to be highly effective and can significantly reduce one’s chances of acquiring HIV through sex.
The US Health and Human Service agencies are continuously working to increase access to PrEP especially to populations impacted the most. Populations that are disproportionately affected by HIV include African American women as well as African American and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM).2
Ready, Set, PrEP
In December 2019, a new initiative was introduced to promote access to PrEP. Ready, Set, PrEP is a program developed by HHS; it aims to provide free PrEP medications to uninsured individuals or those who do not have prescription coverage under their insurance plan.3
In order to qualify, a person:3
- Should present a negative HIV test result
- Must not have health insurance coverage for prescription drugs
- Have a prescription for PrEP
- Live in the United States including tribal lands and territories
This program has the potential to help many people. It is stated that “up to 200,000 people per year can benefit from receiving PrEP medications through this program.”3 More information on eligibility and how to enroll can be found at Ending the HIV Epidemic: Ready, Set, PrEP.
A new mail order option
At the start of 2021, HHS introduced an additional measure to increase access to PrEP medication. People who are a part of the Ready, Set PrEP program are able to receive their medication via mail at no additional cost. Members simply have to enroll and use a sponsoring pharmacy that is participating in the program.
Benefits for potential PrEP users
This new initiative is not only beneficial to potential enrollees but Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) as well. Individuals no longer have to obtain their test results at one location and their PrEP prescription at another.
In addition, transportation barriers may exist. This may prevent those who are interested from following up with their treatment plan. This newly added convenience of knowing test results, receiving a prescription, and enrolling in the mail order program all in one location saves time and increases retention. The idea is to create an integrated experience inclusive of HIV testing.1
An added mail order option
Ready, Set PrEP is such a key component of the national Ending the HIV Epidemic strategy. There are many people who can benefit from the Ready, Set PrEP program. Yet, many are not aware of this resource.
Health promotion and education helps to keep people informed and healthy. Ready, Set, PrEP and its mail-order service were specifically created to address the financial barrier that exists among those who could benefit from PrEP medication. Once we can ensure more people have access to PrEP, we can move confidently towards ending the HIV epidemic.
Author's note: It is important to note that PrEP is a medication used to prevent HIV only. Condom usage is still necessary to reduce transmission and exposure to other sexually transmitted infections.
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