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New York, October 6, 2022 – Treatment Action Group (TAG) unequivocally condemns the September 2022 U.S. District Court ruling in Fort Worth, Texas on the case Braidwood Management Inc. et al., v. Xavier Becerra et al., which ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers cover pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention was unconstitutional. PrEP is a key component of any comprehensive national HIV response, and is highly effective at preventing HIV, particularly for people at significant risk of acquiring the virus. The decision also ruled that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is unconstitutional, attacking a vital pillar of evidence-based care and prevention in the U.S.
When taken as prescribed, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV through sex by about 99%, and the risk of getting HIV from injecting drugs by around 74%. Yet, ten years after the approval of the first PrEP medication, only 25% of the 1.2 million Americans most likely to benefit from taking PrEP are currently using it — a rate we must focus on raising instead of losing ground by forcing vulnerable people into a coverage gap.
In response to the ruling, TAG HIV Project Director Riko A. Boone, MSW, MPH, MA, said “Make no mistake: it is inexcusable, misogynistic, racist, and homophobic to prioritize a warped and disingenuous definition of religious freedom above people’s access to lifesaving and evidence-based medical care. If this shameful ruling is not overturned, it will also reify structural racism by exacerbating the disproportionate impact of the HIV pandemic on Black communities and widen already concerning racial gaps in PrEP uptake.”
TAG Executive Director Mark Harrington said “This Court decision is an attack on HIV-affected communities who have fought tirelessly for access to effective medications for HIV treatment and prevention. If people who need these critical health resources can’t access them, it jeopardizes public health and raises another unnecessary barrier to the U.S. goal of reducing new HIV infections by 90% by 2030.”
“As civil society advocates for people at risk of and living with HIV, TB, and HCV, we are committed to the fight to end these pandemics,” said Elizabeth Lovinger, TAG’s U.S. and Global Health Policy Director. “As such, we take the Affordable Care Act (ACA) preventive care protections very seriously. The health and well-being of many communities hinge on ongoing efforts to prevent infectious diseases, and the full provision of PrEP services — including necessary testing and clinic visits — free at the point of use is a key pillar of these efforts.”
TAG remains committed to protecting access to the vital healthcare services that are needed to eliminate HIV nationwide and globally. We fiercely reject the U.S. District Court ruling as an attack on our work, and will continue to advocate for the legislation, social conditions, and research that will accelerate the end of the HIV epidemic.
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