LGBTI advocates have welcomed new US government recommendations on PrEP and HIV testing.
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) finalized its rating for PrEP, giving it an ‘A’ rating. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a proven HIV preventative treatment.
The USPSTF also gave an ‘A’ rating to routine, voluntary HIV screening for people aged 15 to 65, all pregnant women, and people at high risk of acquiring HIV.
The Affordable Care Act requires private insurers to cover preventive services recommended by the USPSTF with a grade of A or B with no cost-sharing.
LGBTI advocacy group, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said the rating will give better access to lifesaving care for millions of Americans.
‘For LGBTQ Americans and countless others in the U.S. and around the world, the HIV and AIDS epidemic remains a serious threat to our health and welfare,’ said HRC President Chad Griffin.
‘While there is much work to be done, today’s news signals a potentially game-changing expansion of care for our country — especially for our nation’s most marginalized.’
Big step forward for US
HRC’s director of HIV and health equality J. Maurice McCants-Pearsall said the rating was a ‘critical step forward’.
‘These recommendations from USPSTF represent a critical step forward for the health and welfare of millions of Americans,’ McCants-Pearsall.
‘Despite steadily declining HIV infection rates overall in the U.S., the HIV and AIDS epidemic has not slowed its assault on our community’s and country’s most marginalized — including gay, bisexual and transgender people, especially black and Latinx communities.
‘Thanks to USPSTF’s recommendations, Americans can now look forward to vastly increased access to healthcare interventions which are proven to save lives.
‘Insurance providers and doctors should act swiftly to initiate PrEP coverage consistent with the recommendations and expand testing using the latest technologies.
‘While there is still much work to be done, we are now that much closer to ending this epidemic.’
The rating comes after the Trump Administration implemented a new policy in June ending research done by government scientists using fetal tissue. This move would severely limits research done on HIV.
It also canceled a university’s multi-million dollar laboratory contract. The university used fetal tissue in testing new HIV treatments.
‘Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,’ the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a statement.