CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – In an effort to slow the spread of HIV and AIDS, the Biden Administration has ordered all insurance companies to cover all costs associated with PrEP.
PrEP is a preventative medication, and this new order is good news for health professionals in the Mountain State who work with these patients.
The new guidance from the Biden administration was announced last week. Insurance companies have 60 days to make sure prep is included in a class of preventative drugs to cut back in the spread of HIV and AIDS.
“Under the Affordable Care Act, it has to be covered by private insurance. Medicines have to be covered. The provider visits have to be covered, and lab visits have to be covered, and it’s slowly starting to be rolled out,” Christine Teague, Ryan Wright Program Director said.
PrEP is a pill that’s taken every day and has been shown to be very effective for sexual transmission, but also in some blood transmission – which leaders are concerned about with the increasing drug use problem in the area.
“We have strike teams that are going out every afternoon, primarily on the West Side, but other people in Kanawha City to try to find high risk people,” Angie Settle, CEO of Health Right said.
Insurance companies cannot charge a copay, deductible, or other costs. Otherwise, they’ll be out of accordance with the Biden administration’s interpretation of federal law.
“The hole that we still have is for people who are completely uninsured in other states that don’t have expanded Medicaid that still is an access issue,” Teague said.
Health experts say the way to get the HIV and AIDS epidemic under control is with three steps: testing, diagnosis and prevention.
“We want to test people and make them aware of their status. If they’re positive, we want to get them into rapid treatment. If they’re negative, again back to prep,” Settle said.
In addition to prep pills, other ways to take the drug are developing. People can get a monthly shot or get a shot twice every other month, rather than take a pill every day.