Dec 14, 2022 - Health

HIV treatment drugs get "A" grade from task force despite challenges

Illustration of a magnifying glass studying a red ribbon

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on Tuesday recommended prescribing medications that prevent HIV to adolescents and adults who are at increased risk for acquiring the virus.

Driving the news: A draft document to give pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, the task force's highest recommendation for an "A" grade comes as compulsory coverage for the treatment, as well as the task force's very existence, are both being challenged in federal court.

The intrigue: Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor struck down an Affordable Care Act requirement that employers must cover the treatment.

  • The judge — who has previously ruled against the ACA — also questioned the constitutionality of the task force and its recommendations.

What they're saying: Advocates for affordable HIV treatment applauded the task force's draft recommendation on Tuesday.

  • "We are hearing many complaints by people who are still being charged cost-sharing for oral PrEP and its associated services," said Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute, in a statement.
  • "People seeking PrEP are facing too many barriers to access and we need state and federal regulators to take the necessary steps to correct these problems," Schmid said.

Go deeper: Court ruling on HIV meds could have sweeping implications for preventive care

Go deeper