Dear President Biden, Senate Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader McConnell, and House Minority Leader McCarthy:
Now is the time for a national PrEP program in the United States.
Nearly 400,000 new HIV infections have occurred in the United States since PrEP was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 16th, 2012. Over those ten years, Black, Latinx, and queer communities have continued to bear the brunt of this devastating epidemic. It is critical that the nation address this long-standing crisis by creating a national PrEP program to expand access to PrEP so that it reaches every person in need.
The vast majority of these infections could have – and should have – been averted. Of the 1.2 million individuals estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be most in need of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), only 9% of Black individuals and 16% of Latinx people had accessed it by 2020 compared to 66% of White individuals. The result: new infections are on the decline in White queer communities as numbers stagnate for queer communities of color. The disparity in PrEP access will lead to further HIV disparities in the years to come.
PrEP has remained out of reach for those who need it most, all while hundreds of thousands of lives have been needlessly upended with an HIV diagnosis. This persistent, never-ending crisis has come at great financial cost to our healthcare system. A national PrEP program would avert many of these costs while improving the lives and health of thousands of people nationwide.
We sign this letter as people living with, vulnerable to, and affected by HIV to demand that our political leaders do everything within their power to ensure that we do not have to wait one moment longer before realizing the full promise of PrEP in every disproportionately impacted community across America.
We already have the ingredients to develop a national PrEP program – an evidence base that PrEP is effective; community expertise in how to best implement it; and savings to be realized both in terms of costs and lives.
We call on Congress and the Administration to fund a national PrEP program now so that we can advance this critical intervention and realize the bipartisan goal of ending HIV as an epidemic in the U.S.
A decade has been too long to wait. We need a #NatlPrEPProgramNow.
The AIDS Institute
CC: Committee chairs/co-chairs