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HELL’S PANTRY

THE FACTS ABOUT PrEP B And why more people who should be on it aren’t

y 1995, the number of AIDS-related deaths in the US had reached an all-time high: 319,849 people had lost their lives from the disease, and it had become the leading cause of death among Americans aged 25 to 44. These days, the buzz around HIV and AIDS is so quiet, you could almost be forgiven for thinking it had gone away. Almost. Because the truth is, that

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while those dying from the disease are signifcantly fewer than at the height of the AIDS epidemic (15,807 in 2016), the number of new infections every year has stopped declining and has plateaued at around 39,000 The reason? While effective prevention exists, it’s not reaching those who could benefit most. PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a combination of two drugs taken in a single pill daily that can reduce the risk

DIGITAL EDITION

Above: Men who have sex with other men are at the highest risk of contracting the HIV virus – yet only a small percentage of them are using PrEP.

of getting HIV through sex by more than 90%. However, there is currently only one medication available in the US. And that, explains Dr Vino Palli, is called Truvada. “It has been available for four to five years at least,” says the founder and CEO of MiDoctor in Hell’s Kitchen. “But only about 10% to 15% of patients who are at high risk are on PrEP right now. And the reason is that Truvada is an extremely expensive drug. It costs about $1,600 a month, so patients who have good insurance are the ones who are able to access it. “If you don't have insurance, it's pretty difficult, simply because of the price. “There are a lot more patients who should be going on PrEP to prevent infection. In 2019, we shouldn't have a single HIV positive patient.” Keeping that price artificially high is the fact that the maker of Truvada – Gilead – has a US monopoly. “The cost of Truvada is $6 on the international market. But when you come to the United States, it's $1,600. It's completely ridiculous,” says Dr Palli Early last month, Gilead announced

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Profile for W42ST Magazine

W42ST Issue 54 - The Pride Issue  

Inside: How to be a true ally, understanding intersectionality; the facts about PrEP, the podcasting exes, The Cher Show, God's Love We Deli...

W42ST Issue 54 - The Pride Issue  

Inside: How to be a true ally, understanding intersectionality; the facts about PrEP, the podcasting exes, The Cher Show, God's Love We Deli...

Profile for w42st