US: San Francisco could become first city to offer free PrEP to prevent HIV

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San Francisco could become the first city in the US to provide HIV-preventative drug Truvada for free.

A measure currently being considered by the San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors would make the controversial HIV-prevention drug Truvada available to more residents.

Currently, the drug – which significantly reduces the risk of HIV transmission – can cost an individual up to $13,000 (£7,930) annually, placing it well out of some people’s price range, while health insurance companies have been slow to provide it in standard coverage.

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos announced this week that he will be taking a measure to the Board of Supervisors that will make the drug cheaper or even free.

The move comes after his colleague Scott Wiener became the first politician in the US to announce that he was taking the drug, earlier this week.

In a statement, Campos said: “I’m sick of meeting people 18, 19, 20, 21 years old who are [HIV] positive. We know that this is not necessary.”

“This coming Tuesday, I will introduce a measure to allocate funds for navigators to educate patients about PrEP, and provide subsidies to San Franciscans who cannot afford the life saving medication.

“By making PrEP available to all regardless of income, we could set the tone for the rest of the country in how to effectively eradicate a disease that claimed the lives of so many of our loved ones.”

In the UK, Truvada is currently still in its experimental trial period, but some campaigners are already calling for it to be made available on the NHS.


AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein attracted criticism earlier this year for labelling Truvada a ‘party drug’, claiming it would wrongly be seen as an alternative to condoms.

The AHF, which has broken away from other groups to condemn PrEP, launched an ad campaign targeting it last month.