After an openly gay San Francisco
supervisor announced last week that he's taking Truvada to reduce the
risk of contracting HIV, a second official said he'll introduce a
measure to subsidize the cost of the drug.
Supervisor Scott Wiener on Wednesday
disclosed that he's participating in the treatment known as
pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.
The following day, Supervisor David
Campos announced he's backing a plan to make PrEP cheap or free for
residents who can't afford the treatment.
“This coming Tuesday, I will
introduce a measure to allocate funds for navigators to educate
patients about PrEP, and provide subsidies to San Franciscans who
cannot afford the life saving medication,” he said in a
“By making PrEP available to all
regardless of income, we could set the tone for the rest of country
in how to effectively eradicate a disease that claimed the lives of
so many of our loved ones,” he added.
The daily regimen was approved by the
Food and Drug Administration in 2012 and some researchers believe it
may reduce the risk of infection by 99 percent, when taken as
Critics, however, argue that it's too early
to embrace Truvada, noting its possible toxic side effects and high
price tag of over $1,000 a month for the uninsured. Others worry
that PrEP will encourage risky sexual behavior.
At a rally Thursday, Wiener said he's
in favor of widespread adoption of the regimen.
“Ending this epidemic can't just be
limited to people who happen to have good insurance,” he said. “We
have to expand access. We have to make sure that people who either
don't have insurance or have insurance with really high deductibles
or high co-pays have access.”