The American Medical Association (AMA) yesterday adopted two new policies recognizing the need for better provider education about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). The AMA is the largest association of physicians and medical students in the U.S.
First approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012, PrEP is a once-daily pill regimen that can keep someone HIV-negative. When taken as prescribed by a knowledgeable healthcare provider, PrEP has been shown to be highly effective in preventing HIV acquisition. However, PrEP uptake has been frustratingly slow in the U.S., due in part to low levels of awareness among doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers. According to a 2015 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three primary care doctors and nurses haven’t even heard about PrEP.
In order to help close the provider gap and dramatically increase the number of people currently using PrEP, the AMA “will advocate that all insurers be required to cover the costs associated with the administration of PrEP. [Additionally]... the AMA [will] work with government officials to study the feasibility of providing PrEP free of charge to high-risk individuals.” The policies were adopted during a summer convening of the AMA, where HRC Senior Program Specialist Noël Gordon Jr. educated AMA members about some of the barriers facing LGBTQ people and allies who might otherwise be interested in using PrEP.
HRC applauds the AMA for their continued leadership on this issue and for their ongoing efforts to bolster education and training to combat the HIV and AIDS epidemic.