The shortsighted effort to repeal Obamacare

You may or may not be aware of the most exciting development in preventing the spread of HIV since the discovery that it was blood-borne:  PrEP.  PrEP stands for “Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis,” and it is an FDA approved regimen that involves a non-infected (w/HIV) person taking the drug Truvada daily.

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Here’s the breakthrough:  in multiple clinical trials, there have been zero (0) HIV transmissions from an infected person to an uninfected person on PrEP, including when a condom or safer-sex practices were not used!

There are about 1.2 million Americans living with HIV and an estimated 50,000 new cases of HIV transmission each year.  Now, armed with prevention tools like PrEP and community health education efforts, new HIV infections in my state of California have dropped to 5,000 a year, the lowest in decades.  For those already infected, seeking treatment (which means rigorous medication compliance) will reduce the amount of HIV in the bloodstream to "undetectable" levels which protects the infected person's health and makes them incapable of transmitting HIV to others, another epidemic control/cessation approach known as "Treatment as Prevention.”

But it is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which provides treatment coverage to millions of low-income Americans thru the state exchanges and the Medicaid expansion.

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Moreover, Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare will allow insurers to charge higher premiums for those with pre-existing conditions — like HIV — which will, effectively, render some people uninsurable.

It is estimated that California alone will lose $20 billion in healthcare funding if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, and an individual’s cost for PrEP will go from free in some cases to well over $1000 dollars a month.

Without coverage to treat those already infected, and with the cost of PrEP being prohibitively expensive if Obamacare is repealed, we’re going to see new HIV infections start to trend back upward.

AND WE’RE GOING TO SEE PEOPLE DIE.

Tell your senator to put a stop to efforts aimed toward a repeal of Obamacare.  To find your senator’s contact information, click here.

To learn more about how you can protect your health and the health of your partner with PrEP click here.

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