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The Trump administration just made it easier to prevent HIV

Pre-exposure medications are now free for people without insurance

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Despite major advances in education and medication, around 38,000 Americans get infected with HIV every year, according to HIV.gov

About one million more are at risk of contracting the virus, so the government just launched a new program designed to help stop the spread.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services unveiled “Ready, Set, PrEP.” It makes pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications free for people who don’t have prescription drug insurance. 

The goal is to reduce the rate of new infections by 75 percent in five years – and by 90 percent in 10 years.

Credit: Jesus Aranguren/Invision/AP
Award-winning recording artist Flo Rida keeps the crowd hyped at the 13th annual Florida AIDS Walk and Music Festival, on Sunday, March 18 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The event, produced by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) raised $2,000,000 to provide HIV/AIDS services and prevention. ( Photo by Jesus Aranguren/Invision for AIDS Healthcare Foundation/AP Images)

That’s great news for people at risk who live in Tampa Bay. Hillsborough County is one of 57 areas across the country being directly targeted by the program.

"Thanks to Ready, Set, PrEP, thousands of Americans who are at risk for HIV, including individuals in Hillsborough County, will now be able to protect themselves and their communities,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

Doctors say PrEP is a highly-effective drug.

"It is a critical tool for ending the HIV epidemic, but to make an impact it has to be available for people who need it most. Ready, Set, PrEP will increase access to this effective and preventive drug for people at risk," said Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D.

To receive the medication for free, a person must be HIV negative, have a prescription for PrEP and not have prescription drug coverage. There may be costs for clinic visits and lab tests, depending on income level.

You can find more information here or by calling 855-447-8410.

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