NZ ahead of the pack in funding revolutionary HIV-prevention drug PrEP

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'For too long, people living with HIV have born the brunt of expectation, responsibility, and blame when it comes to keeping the community safe from HIV. "PrEP offers HIV negative people the opportunity to take more responsibility for their own safety".

It's not now subsidized as a HIV preventative drug in Australia.

From 1 March 2018 emtricitabine with tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Truvada) will be funded for the prevention of HIV infection (a treatment known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP).

"The research tells us that that a 50 per cent reduction in HIV is possible [with the wider availability of PrEP]", he said.

The Body, the HIV news and health site that first reported Publix's refusal to cover PrEP, noted that three of seven states with Publix grocery stores - North Carolina, Georgia, Florida - were ranked by the Centers of Disease Control among the top 10 states with the highest number of HIV diagnoses in 2016.

Mr Hunt did not respond to The New Daily's requests for comment.

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The agency said the decision meant the drug would also be funded for people if they were not infected but their risk of contracting HIV was high. Those in the HIV sector are confident that at least one will get through. "Condoms are fully funded on prescription and are highly effective, but rates of HIV infection are still increasing in New Zealand".

But while PrEP is "critically important", it was not the solution and only one part of many elements required to achieve the ultimate goal of eliminating HIV by 2020, Mr O'Donnell said.

Truvada can now cost up to $10,000 a year but a PBS listing is expected to bring the price to below $500 a year, meaning thousands of at-risk individuals, including men who have sex with men, injecting drug users and sex workers, will have greater access to the drug.

"Many men will stick to just using condoms", he said.

TheBody.com learned of this issue in December when David Holland, M.D., M.H.S., an associate professor of medicine at Emory University and director of the Fulton County PrEP clinic in Atlanta posted in a thread on Facebook that the only patient he wasn't able to prescribe PrEP to was a Publix employee. It will make it more affordable and accessible for people at risk of acquiring HIV.

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