SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Francisco supervisor is asking the city to provide a HIV prevention drug to all residents free of charge.
If successful, San Francisco would be the first city in the world to distribute the single pill sold under the brand name Truvada, PrEP, or “pre-exposure prophylaxis.”
Supervisor David Campos, who plans to introduce the resolution at the Board of Supervisor meeting Tuesday night, cites Health Department statistics that estimate fewer than 1,000 San Franciscans have access to the prevention drug.
“I believe that whether it’s through Healthy SF or the city working through different partners that it should be made available to people who cannot afford it. I think in the end, not only do you save that life, but you save hundreds of thousands of dollars that you would otherwise have to spend on that individual,” Campos said.
Even with citywide efforts to stop transmission of the virus altogether, over 2,000 San Franciscans have been diagnosed with new AIDS infections in the last five years.
PrEP is part of a new prevention approach, and the first approved by the FDA, where HIV-negative individuals use medications to reduce their risk of becoming infected if they are exposed to the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and multiple clinical trials have shown that PrEP can be up to 99 percent effective in preventing HIV infection, producing better results than condoms.
Campos will also host a rally on Thursday featuring testimonies from the Gladstone Institute and Department of Public Health on the need to provide greater PrEP access to San Francisco residents regardless of income level.
San Francisco is a notorious leader in creating innovate healthcare policies, particularly for the poor and marginalized. In 2012, gender reassignment surgery became available at no cost for residents who are enrolled in the Healthy SF Program.