On Thursday, President Trump, who stated in February that his administration had a goal to end the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years, announced that his administration had successfully worked with a pharmaceutical company to initiate a historic donation to eliminating the HIV problem in America.
Trump stated on Twitter: “Great news today: My Administration just secured a historic donation of HIV prevention drugs from Gilead to help expand access to PrEP for the uninsured and those at risk. Will help us achieve our goal of ending the HIV epidemic in America!”
The Health and Human Services Department issued more specifics:
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II announced today that, as a result of discussions between the Trump Administration and Gilead Sciences, Inc., the pharmaceutical company has agreed to donate pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication for up to 200,000 individuals each year for up to 11 years. PrEP is used to reduce the risk of HIV infection in individuals who are at higher risk for HIV. It has been shown to reduce the risk of new infection by up to 97 percent when taken consistently.
The agreement between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Gilead will last until at least December 31, 2025 and possibly through December 31, 2030, and will provide medication to treat individuals who are at risk for HIV and who are uninsured. This donation will deliver Gilead’s PrEP medication Truvada, which currently carries a list price of more than $20,000 per patient per year, to up to 200,000 people per year, including in the states and counties identified as priority areas in the Trump Administration plan - PDF to end the HIV epidemic in America.
Gilead will donate Truvada until its second-generation HIV preventative medication, Descovy, becomes available. At that time, Gilead will donate Descovy. The agreement would end after 11 years, or when a generic version of Descovy becomes commercially available, whichever comes first. The government has agreed to cover costs associated with distributing the drugs.
Azar issued a statement:
Securing this commitment is a major step in the Trump Administration’s efforts to use the prevention and treatment tools we have to end the HIV epidemic in America by 2030. Under President Trump’s leadership, HHS worked with Gilead to secure preventative medication for individuals who might otherwise not be able to access or afford this important treatment. The majority of Americans who are at risk and who could protect themselves with PrEP are still not receiving the medication. This agreement will help close that gap substantially and deliver on President Trump’s promise to end the HIV epidemic in America.
According to the CDC, “At the end of 2016, an estimated 1.1 million people aged 13 and older had HIV infection in the United States, including an estimated 162,500 (14%) people whose infections had not been diagnosed … Worldwide, there were about 1.8 million new cases of HIV in 2017. About 36.9 million people are living with HIV around the world. An estimated 940,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2017.”