PAN Foundation Expands Eligibility Criteria for HIV Treatment and Prevention Fund for People who Need Pre- or Post-Exposure Prophylaxis
Washington, D.C. January 23, 2015 – Following on the heels of last year’s launch of the nation’s first cost-sharing assistance program for underinsured Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) patients, the Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation announced today that it will be expanding its HIV fund to include people who need pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), a significant step in broadening access to therapies that lower the rate of infection among at-risk populations, sexual assault victims or people who are occupationally exposed to HIV/AIDS.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PrEP can lessen the risk of contracting an HIV infection by 92 percent for those who take their medications consistently, and when PrEP is combined with regular testing and other prevention strategies, such as condoms, protection against an HIV infection is even greater.
The CDC recommends that PrEP be taken daily by people who are HIV negative and have a high risk of infection, including, but not limited to those who are in a relationship with a partner with HIV, and people in mutually non-monogamous relationships having sexual relations with partners with unknown HIV status who are at substantial risk of HIV infection.
In contrast, according to the CDC, PEP can be used following a very recent exposure to HIV during a single event. PEP consists of the use of antiretroviral therapies for a 28-day cycle, which stops the virus from multiplying.
Under all circumstances, pre- or post-exposure, the PAN Foundation encourages individuals to speak with their health care providers about what options may be best for them. Once PrEP is prescribed, the CDC recommends that clinicians help facilitate access to risk-reduction services and encourage patients to combine PrEP use with other prevention strategies.
“NASTAD applauds the PAN Foundation for expanding its HIV fund to include PrEP and PEP medications,” said Murray Penner, Deputy Executive Director at the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD). “This expansion will assist people who are HIV negative obtain cost-sharing assistance with medications they may need to stay HIV-negative. This will ultimately prevent new infections.”
Each year there are approximately 50,000 new cases of HIV, and many who are infected do not know their status, strengthening the need for more robust education, awareness and prevention efforts. To that end, PAN’s inclusion of PrEP and PEP in its HIV Treatment and Prevention fund helps pave the way for underinsured populations to access drug prophylaxis via cost sharing assistance, especially if they are ineligible to enroll in AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP), a federal grant program.
PAN, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to under-insured patients for their out-of-pocket expenses, has assisted over 5,200 people through its HIV Treatment and Prevention fund since its launch in March, 2014.
Patients who qualify for PAN’s HIV Treatment and Prevention fund are eligible to receive a grant to help cover the out-of-pocket costs associated with their medications. To qualify, patients need to be HIV positive, or be HIV-uninfected and at high risk of acquiring HIV, or be HIV-uninfected and have been exposed to bodily fluids potentially containing HIV within the last 72 hours. In addition, applicants need to have some form of primary insurance coverage for the medication for which they are seeking assistance, need to reside and receive treatment in the United States or its territories, and need to have a household income at or below 500 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. To learn more about applying for assistance from the PAN Foundation, visit HIV Treatment and Prevention.
About Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection, or HIV, is the virus that can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. That means that once a person gets HIV, they’ll have it for life.
No safe and effective cure currently exists, but scientists are working hard to find one, and remain hopeful. Meanwhile, with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled and the risk of infection can be greatly reduced through appropriate use of PrEP or PEP, depending on the patient indication.
If infection occurs, treatment for HIV is often called antiretroviral therapy or ART. It can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV and lower their chance of infecting others. Before the introduction of ART in the mid-1990s, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Today, someone diagnosed with HIV and treated before the disease is far advanced can have a nearly normal life expectancy.
HIV affects specific cells of the immune system, called CD4 cells, or T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. When this happens, HIV infection leads to AIDS.
About the Patient Access Network Foundation
The Patient Access Network Foundation is an independent, nationwide 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to providing help and hope to underinsured patients who are unable to afford the out-of-pocket expenses for their prescribed medications. Since 2004, PAN has provided more than 400,000 underinsured patients with over $880 million dollars in much needed financial assistance to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses across nearly 60 disease-specific programs. For applications and eligibility questions, call 1-866-316-PANF (7263). To learn more, visit www.PANfoundation.org.