A Message from Ash Wellness Regarding US District Judge Reed O’Connor’s Ruling on HIV Prevention Drugs
Last week, Texas federal judge Reed O’Connor, notorious for his anti-Obamacare rulings, voided the ACA’s mandate for coverage of HIV prevention drugs (including PrEP) because it “substantially burdens” the religious freedom of a for-profit Christian company. Ash Wellness condemns this decision in the strongest possible language, as it sets a precedent for LGBTQ people, and in particular racial and ethnic minority men who have sex with men, to receive lower quality healthcare.
PrEP is one of our best public health tools to combat the spread of HIV. When taken as prescribed, it is 99% effective in reducing the risk of getting HIV. Approximately 1.2 million people are at high-risk for HIV exposure and could benefit from PrEP, according to the CDC, though only 25% were prescribed PrEP in 2020.
Advancements in remote healthcare have made PrEP more accessible than ever. PrEP is easy to provide through telehealth services in the United States — at-home diagnostic testing for medication maintenance, Rx delivery, and telemedicine video visits. However, we fear the implications of this ruling will create barriers to care that disrupt the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative to prescribe PrEP to 50% of high-risk individuals by 2025.
Ash Wellness is a proud partner to businesses and organizations that make long-term PrEP use possible through at-home diagnostic testing services. We will continue to do all that we can to protect our LGBTQ community.
The Ash Wellness Team
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