Home Health News Breaking: 2020 Candidate Kamala Harris Introduces Bill to Expand Access to PrEP

Breaking: 2020 Candidate Kamala Harris Introduces Bill to Expand Access to PrEP

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U.S. Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris is about to introduce laws increasing entry to HIV-prevention treatment.

On Thursday, Harris will introduce the PrEP Access and Coverage Act in Congress. In an announcement, the Junior Senator from California claims the laws will “guarantee insurance coverage” for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), which has been proven to cut back the danger of contracting HIV by over 90%.

But regardless of the effectiveness of medicines like Truvada, Harris notes that the blue tablet was accompanied by a “list price of over $20,000 per year.”

Astrid Riecken/MCT by way of Getty

As a results of the prohibitively costly price ticket and lingering social stigma surrounding HIV, a 2018 research printed within the journal PLOS ONE discovered that solely 4 % of sexually energetic males who’ve intercourse with males (MSM) within the U.S. are presently taking HIV-prevention drugs.

Harris’ press launch additional notes that solely 2% of Latinx and 0.1% of black people who may have probably benefitted from medicine like Truvada have been taking them as of 2016.

According to Harris, this “needs to change.”

“PrEP is a critical advancement in the fight against HIV that can finally provide peace of mind to Americans who live in the shadow of the HIV epidemic,” she says in an e mail shared with NewNowNext. “But for too many in our country, lack of insurance coverage and exorbitant costs have put PrEP out of reach.”

Harris hopes her laws may be a part of the answer.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) made suggestions requiring all private and non-private insurers to cowl PrEP as a part of their health plans by 2021. However, Harris says the PrEP Access and Coverage Act goes additional by requiring insurance coverage firms not to cost a copay for the treatment. This would come with authorities health plans like Medicare and Medicaid.

According to Harris, related insurance policies are already in place below the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for contraception.

Justin Sullivan/Getty

The laws additionally requires the creation of a grant program that might fund entry to PrEP for people who’re uninsured, in addition to paying for related testing and follow-up appointments.

The PrEP Access and Coverage Act would moreover make it unlawful for incapacity and life insurance coverage firms to deny protection to a person simply because that person is presently taking PrEP treatment. It would additionally forestall PrEP customers from being charged greater premiums.

Lastly, it will additionally create a public schooling program geared towards preventing the stigma in opposition to PrEP. Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), infamously known as Truvada a “party drug.”

Harris claims that her proposal would assist the federal authorities higher commit to ending the HIV/AIDS disaster within the U.S. Despite fast development in remedy and prevention of the virus up to now few many years, greater than 38,000 individuals have been recognized with HIV in 2017. An estimated 1.1 million individuals within the U.S. are presently dwelling with HIV.

“Nearly four decades since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS crisis that took so many lives and caused countless others to live in fear, we can and will stop the spread of this disease,” Harris says.

The PrEP Access and Coverage Act is one among two payments this 12 months that hope to deal with the widespread lack of PrEP utilization amongst Americans. The PrEP Assistance Program Act, a bit of laws launched by U.S. House Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) in March, would create a grant program related to the one outlined in Harris’ plan. Its 37 cosponsors included brazenly homosexual Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.).

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney.

That laws, nevertheless, has but to obtain a vote after being referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

While the PrEP Access and Coverage Act is unlikely to move a Senate the place Republicans maintain a 53-47 majority, it’s not the primary pro-LGBTQ invoice Harris has put ahead since she succeeded Barbara Boxer within the Senate two years in the past.

After the U.S. Census Bureau introduced in 2017 that the 2020 census wouldn’t ask questions on sexual orientation or gender id, Harris launched the Census Equality Act the next 12 months together with Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). The invoice would mandate that the LGBTQ group be absolutely counted within the decennial census report, in addition to the American Community Survey (ACS) performed each two years.

Although the census has requested about same-sex {couples} since 1990, it has by no means included a query concerning LGBTQ id. In 2018, Gallup estimated that 4.5% of the U.S. inhabitants identifies as LGBTQ.

The Census Equality Act failed to obtain a vote within the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty

Kamala Harris at San Francisco Pride, 2016.

Since asserting her intention to run for president in January, Harris has been lauded for her longtime assist of LGBTQ rights. As the Attorney General of California, she refused to defend Proposition 8, a voter referendum banning same-sex marriages within the state. Before that, she additionally labored on the San Francisco District Attorney’s workplace to outlaw using the “panic defense” in circumstances the place an LGBTQ person is murdered.

Her document on equality, nevertheless, has been met with some criticism from LGBTQ progressives. During her time because the California Attorney General, Harris fought to withhold gender affirmation surgical procedure from two incarcerated trans girls.

While Harris has been criticized for her assist of the anti-sex trafficking invoice FOSTA/SESTA, which served to shutter sources that queer and trans intercourse staff relied on for security, she has since come out in favor of decriminalizing prostitution. During a CNN Town Hall debate in April, she claimed, “We should not be criminalizing women who are engaged in consensual opportunities for employment.”

Tracking from RealClearPolitics exhibits Harris in presently polling in fourth for the Democratic nomination, behind Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. She averages 7.1% assist in polls.

Nico Lang is an award-winning journalist and editor. His work has been featured in INTO, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Esquire, and the L.A. Times.

@Nico_Lang



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