SF supervisor to call for free HIV prevention medication

A San Francisco supervisor is expected to call today for The City to provide a controversial new HIV prevention drug to all who request it, regardless of income level.

Sold under the brand name Truvada, PrEP, or “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” is a single pill that contains two anti-HIV retrovirals, and is the first anti-HIV/AIDS drug approved by the FDA.

San Francisco is known for its array of healthcare services available to the poor and indigent – for example, gender-reassignment surgery is available at no cost.

If Supervisor David Campos&#39 push to have The City's Department of Public Health provide PrEP free of charge is successful, it is believed that San Francisco would be the first city in the world to provide the HIV/AIDS prevention drug.

Campos is expected to introduce a resolution supporting The City dispense PrEP at the Board of Supervisors meeting today. A hearing on how to make the drug available to all city residents is expected Thursday.

About 2,066 people have been diagnosed with new AIDS infections in the past five years, according to health officials.

Despite a citywide push to reduce new transmissions to zero, and success in slowing or stopping altogether new HIV infections with PrEP in clinical trials, “fewer than 1,000 San Franciscans have access” to PrEP, Campos estimates.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health officials worldwide are pushing PrEP as a 99 percent effective HIV prevention strategy when taken daily.

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