August 1, 2014 at 10:30 am EST | by Staff reports
Washington State to pay for PrEP
Truvada, Gilead, gay news, Washington Blade

Truvada (Photo courtesy of Gilead).

A groundbreaking drug assistance program by the Washington State Department of Health will help pay for an expensive daily pill that could reduce the chance of HIV infection, the Buzzfeed site reports. The program is targeted at state residents who are at high risk of infection.

The Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Drug Assistance Program, or PrEP DAP, covers the cost of the medication for eligible individuals interested in using it to reduce their chance of HIV infection as prescribed by their doctors, regardless of whether they are insured. PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, comes in the form of a daily prescription pill, Truvada, and costs about $1,300 per month — an obstacle for many who seek the medication with insurance, and especially the uninsured, the article said.

Participants in the Washington program pay nothing.

David Kern, manager of the Infectious Disease Prevention Section at the Washington Department of Health said he is unaware of any other states with programs specifically providing financial support for PrEP, but that someday it could serve as a model for state public health officials across the country, Buzzfeed reports.

“In Washington, we really see PrEP as a new and important tool in the toolbox for HIV prevention,” Kern told BuzzFeed. “It is a strategy that supports our overarching public health goals and it’s an important part of what we’re doing with resources.”

Financial support includes all of the costs of the medication for participants who are uninsured, underinsured and even for people with insurance, so that there is no cost of the pills out of pocket. For those with insurance, the provider is billed first and then the program covers the co-pay, which is about $450 per month on average, Kern said. For clients without insurance, PrEP DAP covers the entire $1,300 monthly cost of Truvada. The PrEP DAP does not cover lab work costs and medical visits, the Buzzfeed article said.

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