Publix will offer PrEP in their health plans after receiving backlash

Simon Moss
February 9, 2018

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a HIV-prevention treatment. "PrEP offers HIV negative people the opportunity to take more responsibility for their own safety". It is usually prescribed to people at higher risk of infection.

The significance in the direction shift by one of Florida's largest employers can be demonstrated by looking at two maps: Publix's stores and the Centers for Disease Control's map of new HIV infection rates in 2016.

"Publix appreciates the concerns shared by our associates and customers". During their meeting, Publix confirmed they did not cover PrEp. We offer generous health coverage to our eligible full-time and part-time associates at an affordable premium and are committed to the health and well-being of our associates and their families.

It issued a statement reiterating its Twitter replies Tuesday afternoon.

According to Smith, the decision not to cover the HIV prevention drug came directly from the chain and not the medical insurance companies that cover employees. "We have long said that until PrEP is fully accessible, it will not be fully effective".

The New Zealand AIDS foundation said the introduction of the funding for the drug, along with regular condom use, would decrease HIV new infection rates drastically.

New Zealand is about to take a pioneering approach to fighting HIV/AIDS-by publicly funding pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication Truvada, manufactured by USA biotech giant Gilead.

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The medicine is known as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP as it is taken before exposure to the HIV virus.

While denying coverage of PrEP is not illegal, Smith said Publix's old policy left it vulnerable to privacy lawsuits.

Pharmac said the funding decision had the potential to nearly completely eliminate the risk of HIV infection. Under the policy, he said, employees would have to petition the company describing why the covergae was necessary.

Human rights groups spoke out against the chain, calling its denial for PrEP insurance coverage discriminatory.

The man asked that his name and occupation be withheld to protect his privacy. Truvada is already funded for treating people infected with HIV, however this decision means it will also be funded for people if they are not infected but are at a high risk of contracting HIV. In 2012, the Human Rights Board of Broward County, Florida made Publix pay $100,000 to a gay baker they'd allegedly fired for being gay.

It called Tuesday's decision "a positive step".

Scott Schoettes, HIV project director at Lambda Legal, a gay rights organization, said it is unclear whether companies are legally required to cover Truvada for PrEP.

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