Free availability for HIV prevention drug expanded in East Baton Rouge Parish

Free availability for HIV prevention drug expanded in East Baton Rouge Parish
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched Ready, Set, PrEP, a national program that makes medications for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), taken daily to prevent HIV, available at no cost to people without prescription drug insurance coverage. (Source: WTVM)

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Sevices launched a program Tuesday, Dec. 3 which expands free access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a “highly effective” medication that significantly lowers a person’s chance of getting HIV if used daily.

The Ready, Set, PrEP program allows people who test negative for HIV, have a valid prescription for PrEP, and do not have prescription drug coverage to get the drug free of charge. All medications are fully covered for qualifying participants. However, the costs of necessary clinic visits and lab tests may vary depending on an individual’s income.

People can find out if they qualify by visiting or calling toll-free 855-447-8410.

“PrEP is highly effective in preventing HIV infection when taken as directed,” said Assistant Secretary for Health Brett P. Giroir, M.D. “It is a critical tool for ending the HIV epidemic, but to make an impact it has to be available for people who need it most. Ready, Set, PrEP will increase access to this effective and preventive drug for people at risk.”

East Baton Rouge Parish is one of the 57 jurisdictions identified as target areas for President Trump’s Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE) initiative. EHE aims to reduce the number of new HIV transmissions in the United States by 75% in five years and by 90% in 10 years. PrEP is considered a major component of that plan.

“Thanks to Ready, Set, PrEP, thousands of Americans who are at risk for HIV, including individuals in East Baton Rouge Parish, will now be able to protect themselves and their communities. The Trump Administration recognizes the vital role of prevention in ending the HIV epidemic in America, and connecting members of vulnerable communities to prevention services and medication is an important part of the President’s initiative,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

Up until March 30, 2020, patients will be able to access PrEP medications through the program at thousands of participating pharmacies. After March 30, 2020 patients can also obtain the PrEP medications at the more than 21,000 combined CVS Health, Walgreens, and Rite Aid locations or through mail order.

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