Saturday, 24 February, 2018

HIV prevention drug Truvada to be publicly funded in New Zealand

Publix denies preventative HIV drug coverage to its employees Publix, the LGBTQ-Unfriendly Grocery Chain, Agrees to Cover PrEP After Public Outcry
Ben Pena | 08 February, 2018, 01:27

New Zealand's government agency that decides which pharmaceuticals to publicly fund, PHARMAC, announced previous year it wanted to fund PrEP as a HIV-preventative drug.

'It's a giant leap forward for our ambitious goal of ending new HIV transmissions in New Zealand by 2025'.

The drastic price cut (Truvada now costs about $30 per day in New Zealand) could go a long way toward widescale HIV prevention, as the discount will be targeted toward the most high-risk residents. If you want to look at it monthly, that's only US$1.20 a month.

People taking funded PrEP will receive advice on ways to reduce the risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

This is a stark difference from the US$731 a month that it used to be for New Zealand residents.

When taken on a daily basis, the drug can give 99 per cent effective protection from the virus.

That includes men who have sex with men, transgender people who have sex with me, those with higher chances of engaging in risky sexual behavior such as sex without a condom, and people with partners who are HIV positive.

PrEP has a critical role to play as part of a combination HIV prevention approach that includes maintaining high rates of condom use, increased testing and prompt treatment for people living with HIV (PLHIV).

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On its official Twitter account, Publix said it will now cover Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)-a medication that reduces the risk of catching of HIV.

- PrEP should be continued for 28 days after the last potential HIV exposure in order to have maximum protective effect.

The pharmaceutical management agency estimates up to 4000 people will be eligible.

In 2016, 244 people were diagnosed with HIV in New Zealand. Florida leads the country in new HIV cases.

New Zealand has become the latest in a small group of countries that publicly funds PrEP and drastically lowers the price of the drug.

NZAF is New Zealand's leading HIV prevention and support community organisation.

PrEP is publicly funded in Scotland through the National Health Service and in the Canadian province of Ontario.

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