While 1.2 million individuals could benefit from pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV — an intervention that is 99% effective at preventing HIV acquisition when taken as directed — only 36% have been prescribed PrEP. The numbers drop dramatically for Black and Hispanic/Latino individuals who could benefit. Just 13% of people who identify as Black and 24% of people who identify as Latino/Hispanic who could benefit from PrEP have access to the medicine.
Increasing PrEP access and utilization is a pillar of the federal Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, which aims to reduce new HIV cases by 90% by 2030. Barriers to PrEP access drive racial and ethnic PrEP disparities and include low awareness; affordability of clinical visits, laboratory monitoring and screening tests; and limited provider availability.
A national PrEP program would increase access to PrEP by:
Such a program would save lives and reduce health care costs. PrEP can be prescribed for as little as $26 per month, averting an HIV infection with a lifetime cost of at least $500,000 per person.