As Congress debates FY2023 budget, 100 groups including APA call on expanding PrEP funding

A coalition of 100 advocacy groups sent a letter last week to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees requesting they fund a $400 million grant program to expand access to HIV prevention medicine. 

Among the groups signing onto the letter were the Human Rights Campaign, the American Psychological Association and the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. The call to action urged the committees to “significantly invest” in expanding PrEP in the coming fiscal year appropriations bills. Specifically, they requested a national PrEP program be funded within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of HIV Prevention. Subcommittee markups on the bills begin this week.

They argued the funding would be a “necessary first step” in achieving President Joe Biden’s proposed budget request to expand PrEP funding and programs. A quarter of people who are eligible actually receive the medication. And though Black and Latino people make up the largest portion of those for whom the medication is recommended, they have the lowest rates of use, according to the CDC. Conversely, most white people who are eligible use PrEP.

Because of generic competition on the market, with daily oral PrEP available at $20 a month, the groups’ letter said, a national program could reap significant cost savings while broadening access to marginalized populations and reducing disparities. 

“For every year that we delay effective, evidence-based scale-up of PrEP access, thousands of unnecessary new infections will occur, primarily within vulnerable communities,” the groups said. 

The program the authors envision would provide grants for the purchase of medications, costs of labs and essential support services like counseling, as well as PrEP outreach and education and the expansion of provider capacity. Nontraditional clinical providers and community-based organizations should have access to the grant like traditional clinicians, the letter said. 

“PrEP expansion cannot wait,” the letter stated.