The Florida Department of Health is firming up state-wide plans to offer PrEP for free by the end of 2018.
The initiative began its rollout in October of 2017 but according to the Department of Health, all 67 county health departments should have PrEP available by the end of this year.
PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is sold under the drug name Truvada in the U.S. and is a daily pill taken to greately reduce the risk of HIV transmissions.
Note: PrEP is different to PEP. PEP is a post-exposure prophylaxis, which can be effective up to 72 hours after a sexual encounter. PEP is available 24/7 from hospitals and medical centres around Australia (Call 1800 737 669 for more information).
In 2015 Florida had the second-highest rate of HIV diagnoses out of the United States, the state has since made a concerted effort to reduce transmission and HIV-related deaths.
"Ensuring PrEP to those at highest risk for HIV infection, regardless of their ability to pay, is one of the four key components of the agency’s," Mara Gambineri a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health said in a statement.
The drug's accessibility will be supported by additional sexual health screenings, public awareness campaigns and improved access to treatment for those living with HIV.
In Australia PrEP is available in a variety of ways however the cost of the drug via prescription, over the counter or purchasing online, can still be quite high, with EndingHIV.org.au estimating the cost of generic (low-cost alternates to the brand name drug) PrEP could range from $400 to $1,300 per year.
Thankfully many states including New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland are running government trials which essentially makes access to the drug cost-free for many in at-risk communities.