HIV groups urge states to investigate reduced coverage of AIDS drugs

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Carl Schmid, deputy director of the AIDS Institute, said state officials have begun to respond to the HIV coalition’s concerns. (Photo courtesy of Schmid)

A coalition of 60 HIV organizations from across the country is calling on insurance commissioners and attorneys general in all 50 states and D.C. to investigate a practice they say is being adopted by health insurers that’s resulting in excessively high out-of-pocket costs for AIDS and Hepatitis C drugs.

In a May 16 letter to all state insurance commissioners and attorneys general, the Federal AIDS Policy Partnership, of which the 60 HIV groups are members, said health insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers, known as PBMs, have begun refusing to allow drug manufacturers’ co-pay assistance contributions from counting toward the patients’ insurance deductible.

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Key New Mexico clinic in HIV treatment to expand research

By : wire report
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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Southwest CARE Center, a once-tiny New Mexico clinic at the forefront of HIV/AIDS research since its founding in 1996, is seeking to expand its research program.

The center’s director of research, Tamara Flys, said this week Southwest CARE of Santa Fe is looking for partnerships to delve into geriatric, pediatric, diabetes and primary-care research, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

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Usage remains low for pill that can prevent HIV infection

By : wire report
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NEW YORK (AP) — From gritty neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles to clinics in Kenya and Brazil, health workers are trying to popularize a pill that has proven highly effective in preventing HIV but which — in their view — remains woefully underused.

Marketed in the United States as Truvada, and sometimes available abroad in generic versions, the pill has been shown to reduce the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90 percent if taken daily. Yet worldwide, only about a dozen countries have aggressive, government-backed programs to promote the pill. In the U.S., there are problems related to Truvada’s high cost, lingering skepticism among some doctors and low usage rates among black gays and bisexuals who have the highest rates of HIV infection.

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Florida Health to offer PrEP for free at all county health departments by end of 2018

By : Jeremy Williams
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Tallahassee, Fla. | As part of their strategic efforts to eliminate the spread of HIV in the state, the Florida Department of Health announced Dec. 1 that they are currently working to make Truvada, the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis medication commonly known as PrEP, available at no cost at all of the 67 county health departments by the end of 2018.

PrEP is a once-daily pill that can reduce the risk of acquiring HIV in HIV-negative individuals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, taking PrEP daily reduces the risk of getting HIV by more than 90 percent.

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Report: PrEP fails gay Canadian who contracts HIV

By : Staff Reports from the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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NEW YORK — Doctors report that a gay Canadian man contracted HIV even though he had been taking daily medication to ward off infection, HealthDay News reports.

Based on a genetic analysis of the virus, it was determined that the 43-year-old Toronto resident was infected with a strain of HIV that had become resistant to the anti-HIV drug Truvada, said report author Dr. David Knox. He is a doctor with the Maple Leaf Medical Clinic in Toronto, HealthDay reports in an article that ran in U.S. News & World Report.

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Issue 22.25: Prevention = Complacence?

By : Jake Stevens
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Prevention = Complacence? As World AIDS Day approaches, philanthropic organizations adjust to changing times and perceptions in the world of HIV, gay history for kids, gay history for comedians, local news, celebrity interviews, and much, much more!

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Man claims bias over use of HIV-blocking drug, sues company

By : Wire Report
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BOSTON (AP) — A Boston man has filed a discrimination complaint against Mutual of Omaha, claiming the company rejected him for long-term care insurance because he is taking an HIV prevention drug.

The man is identified only as John Doe in a complaint filed Sept. 16 with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

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Study says pills before and after sex can help prevent HIV among gay men

By : Wire Report
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SEATTLE (AP) — For the first time, a study shows that a drug used to treat HIV infection also can help prevent it when taken before and after risky sex by gay men.

The results offer hope of a more appealing way to help prevent the disease beyond taking daily pills and using condoms, although those methods are still considered best.

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NY Gay-rights group backs use of HIV-prevention pill

By : Wire Report
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New York (AP) — The largest U.S. gay-rights organization Saturday endorsed efforts to promote the use of a once-a-day pill to prevent HIV infection and called on insurers to provide more generous coverage of the drug.

Some doctors have been reluctant to prescribe the drug, Truvada, on the premise that it might encourage high-risk, unprotected sexual behavior. However, its preventive use has been endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and many HIV/AIDS advocacy groups

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