How California is Improving PrEP Access

A discussion around new data presented at AIDS 2020 which shows statewide strategies are breaking down barriers.

New findings assessing the value of the California Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Assistance Program since early 2018 shows the statewide program has benefitted particular populations of HIV-risk residents in the removal of financial and structural barriers to PrEP access.

The findings, presented at the International AIDS Society (IAS) AIDS 2020 Virtual Sessions this week, also showed that particular HIV-risk groups are still out of reach from proper PrEP protocol.

Namely, cisgender women, young adults, African Americans, and residents from the Central Valley are still under-enrolled in the California program.

How could this program—and clinical criticisms of it—serve to benefit other states and areas with heightened HIV cases?

In an interview with Contagion® as part of AIDS 2020 coverage, study author Philip J. Peters, MD, medical officer of the California Department of Public Health, discussed the study’s intent in bettering the state program, and what the program revealed about his state’s areas of need for bettered PrEP access.

“One is that there are number of out-of-pocket medical costs that can be a barrier to people accessing PrEP,” Peters said. “In particular, we’ve seen costs related to clinician visit expenses, costs related to medications beyond PrEP—and maybe most importantly are the laboratory costs.”