Ready, Set, PrEP program launches; provides free HIV-preventing medication to qualified patients

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 9, 2020

CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. – A newly launched U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) program will provide free pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication to qualified patients across the country, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced today.

PrEP is a medication that can prevent HIV from establishing an infection in the body if there is an exposure. When used properly, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99 percent. Among people who inject drugs, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 75 percent. 

The Ready, Set, PrEP program will increase access to PrEP by removing the cost barrier that many patients face.

“Expanded access to PrEP medication is a key component in bringing us one step closer to ending the HIV epidemic in our state and across the United States,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “People in Michigan who are at risk of contracting HIV will greatly benefit from this program.”

In Michigan, more than 16,000 people are living with HIV, and it is estimated 30 percent of new infections come from individuals who do not know they have HIV. According to HHS, more than one million people in the U.S. could benefit from taking PrEP medication, but only a small fraction of those actually get a prescription for the medication due to cost and lack of information about the drug.

Major pharmacies including CVS Health, Walgreens and Rite Aid have recognized the importance of expanded access to PrEP and have donated their dispensing services for the Ready, Set, PrEP program. Qualified patients can obtain PrEP medication at thousands of pharmacies nationwide at no cost. In addition to providing the medication, these pharmacies are also providing patient counseling and promoting patient adherence to the medication regimen.

To find out if you qualify for the program, visit GetYourPrEP.com or call 855-447-8410. For more information about HIV and PrEP, visit HIV.gov or Michigan.gov/HIVSTD.

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