PrEP Dad

Final exams are a hard time for college students: long days studying in the library, while your friends try to tempt you away from the books with parties and video games.

Students have enough on their minds without having to worry about losing coverage for the medication that prevents them from contracting HIV.

But that’s exactly what a local college student faced last semester: In the middle of exams, his father received a denial notice from his union-sponsored health insurance plan informing him that the plan would no longer cover his Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) prescription. Truvada refills can cost upwards of $1,800 a month without coverage or before deductible requirements have been met.

Even though his father lived out of state, in Connecticut, he was determined to help his son access his medications in an affordable way. To avoid another distraction from his studies, the father took on the responsibility of finding a solution. After a Google search, the father found CRI’s PrEP Drug Assistance Program (PrEPDAP) and contacted the Manager of HIV Biomedical Intervention Programs at CRI, Kevin Herwig.

“The call was a pleasant change of pace,” Kevin explained. “So many college-aged adults are concerned about their parents finding out they are taking a medication designed to prevent transmission of a sexually transmitted virus. It was great to speak with a father who not only understands and supports his son taking this medication, but believes so deeply that it is important he was willing to seek out CRI’s supportive resources.”

Kevin was able to help the father and son link with the school’s health services department and CRI’s PrEPDAP, which will pay for the cost of Truvada as PrEP for Massachusetts residents whose income is less than 500% of the Federal Poverty Level.

PrEPDAP is supported by funds provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). Massachusetts is one of a small handful of states that helps people pay for the high cost of PrEP when they are underinsured or facing high deductibles at the pharmacy counter. Other states also have more stringent requirements, for example, requiring that the individual applying for support supply their social security number. The denial notice this father received is a more common issue outside of the Bay State, and the father expressed immense gratitude for the services his son was able to access through CRI in MA.

His son is not alone – in January 2019, the highest number of clients enrolled or recertified in PrEPDAP since the program began in October 2016.
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