SAN FRANCISCO — A new San Francisco-based app called Nurx allows healthy residents to order a three-month supply of PrEP that’s delivered to their door and requires no doctor’s visit, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Dr. Bradley Hare, director of HIV Care and Prevention at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco, said such a delivery service, launched last week, could increase patient access to the important medication.
Taken daily, pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, medication can reduce a patient’s chance of contracting HIV by more than 90 percent. PrEP use already is so common among gay men in San Francisco that some list it on their online dating profiles, but Nurx’s founders say many people who should be on the regimen still face obstacles when trying to get a prescription. Some primary care doctors don’t know about PrEP or view it with suspicion, said Nurx co-founder and CEO Hans Gangeskar, and local clinics that offer the regimen are overcrowded, according to the Mercury News article.
“The current health care system has failed to get PrEP to the people who need it,” Gangeskar said.
Nurx has been offering on-demand delivery of birth control pills in California since mid-December, and recently expanded to New York. The company also delivers emergency contraception, the article notes.
Supporters say by eliminating time-consuming and potentially embarrassing face-to-face doctor’s visits for PrEP, Nurx may prompt more at-risk people to protect themselves from HIV. Others, such as staff at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation advised against any service that would circumvent contact with a medical provider.
Although follow-up doctor’s visits are not required by Nurx, some supporters say it’s not intended as a replacement for a doctor’s visit, the Mercury News reports.