Preventive HIV drug

Magic Johnson, a well-known celebrity living with HIV.

Magic Johnson, a well-known celebrity living with HIV.

 

A preventive HIV drug exists; it’s not a government conspiracy or a whisper among the minority. Time Magazine reports the FDA-approved preventive HIV drug has been around as early as 2012. However HIV is still a major problem that is heavily prevalent in minority groups in America and on the continent of Africa. So why isn’t it being used?

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is the name of the drug that studies have shown reduces the likelihood of HIV infections by 90% in high risk individuals. 90% is a massive number, and could seriously plug a hole in a rapidly spreading virus.  The study showed that out of 437 men and transgender woman only 2 contracted HIV after a year period. The two that got the virus also seemingly didn’t take the medicine at the prescribed dosage level.

Additionally, the drug was shown to be at its highest level of protection for individuals who engage in sexual activity without a condom and those who have multiple partners.  Both the CDC and WHO recommend PrEP to combat HIV, so why aren’t people using it?

Preventive HIV Drug Awareness

The drug is relatively unknown and this could come from a myriad of reasons. My leading thought is cost. Current HIV medications are highly expensive. It is more economical favorable for large corporations to dispense multiple highly expensive drugs that will last for the duration of an individuals life rather than a single drug/treatment that is taken when an individual is knowingly putting themselves at risk for HIV.

Most men and women settle down eventually, so PrEP users would most likely not be long-term customers. Also the cost is quite different. PrEP is covered by Medicaid which eliminates a large portion of potential paying customers. The out of pocket costs can be around 13,000 a year which is not cheap.

HIV medicine is not cheap either and most HIV cocktails have no generic version, so individuals have to pay full value for the drugs. HIV medicines are typical combined or taken in concert with others and the cocktails may vary by individual. Some HIV drug costs are as much as 3400 for one kit of Fuzeon and 2400 for Triumeq.

Most kits come in monthly packs, so shelling out a minimum 2400 once a month is close to 30,000 dollars for the year. AND that’s only the cost of a single drug.

I don’t think cost should be a factor when people’s lives are at stake.

Get tested, make a lifestyle change, ask your doctor about PrEP, do something, but don’t become a victim to HIV.

Well known celebrities that have HIV include: Magic Johnson, Greg Louganis, and possible Charlie Sheen

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