Ruling Against PrEP Access Sets Dangerous Precedent
amfAR strongly condemns a ruling by a federal judge in Texas that restricts access to PrEP, prophylactic drugs that prevent HIV acquisition.
The Affordable Care Act mandates that preventive care like PrEP must be fully covered by private health insurance. However, in Braidwood Management Inc. v. Xavier Becerra, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled in favor of plaintiffs who claimed they wanted the option to buy health insurance that excludes or limits PrEP coverage. According to the plaintiffs, the HIV prophylaxis violates their religious beliefs because it promotes “homosexual behavior.”
PrEP is a bedrock component of both the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative, launched in 2019 by President Trump with the goal of ending HIV transmissions in the U.S. by 2030. In 2020 there were more than 30,000 new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. and Texas has the seventh highest rate of HIV infection in the nation.
“The advent of PrEP revolutionized HIV prevention for individuals of all genders and it remains one of the most important and effective tools we have in preventing HIV acquisition,” said Greg Millett, amfAR Vice President and Director of Public Policy. “This ruling sets a dangerous precedent that could prompt other jurisdictions to erect similar barriers to accessing PrEP, and it has the potential to seriously undermine efforts to combat HIV in the U.S. Imagine a healthcare provider having a religious objection to providing you with heart or diabetes medication? It’s unthinkable. Prohibiting access to medication because of religious principles violates the ‘do no harm’ principle of the Hippocratic Oath. This ruling legalizes bigotry against the gay community.”