Statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that over one million people in the US are living with HIV. Majority of these are not aware of their status. CDC also reported that tens of thousands of new HIV diagnoses are done annually.
In a bid to prevent the increasing rates of new infections, medical experts worked hard to find a preventive measure with utmost efficacy. This led to the discovery of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Studies have shown that people who take PrEP according to dosage instructions have a 92% chance of not getting infected. This high success rate has made PrEP one of the most important HIV preventive measures.
Persistent Low Uptake Rates
Despite the PrEP’s efficiency, the drug is not as widely used as it should be. The low uptake rate is attributed to social stigma, limited access and lack of education on availability and use of PrEP.
PlushCare, an online care provider is making effort to increase accessibility of PrEP by introducing an end-to-end PrEP remedy program as part of its services. The program that is available in 18 states in the US providers people consistent services including online doctor visits, regular lab testing done at local labs, and prescriptions provided by partner pharmacies.
The Benefits of Online PrEP Facilities
Online clinics, such as PlushCare have the potential to make PrEP more available to people who either don’t have anywhere else to find it or who are afraid to access it.
Online clinics are also great for people who are already taking PrEP but do not want to visit a doctor consistently. Online PrEP providers have witnessed a huge need for their services encouraging more providers to come on board.
Limitations Affecting Online PrEP Providers
Even though online clinics have huge benefits in increasing access to PrEP they are facing a couple of limitations. One of the limitations is access to Medicaid.
Because most of the online clinics can’t accept Medicaid from most of their customers, they have to transfer the cost of accessing PrEP to the customer. This locks out millions of people from accessing PrEP online.
Another limitation is that the online clinics are not available in most of the states. PlushCare, for instance, is available in only 18 states. Furthermore, most of these states won’t expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act making access to PrEP harder.
The requirements for an online clinic to operate in any state are too strict and it takes a long process to gain permission to operate. The clinics are required to o identify a licensed local PrEP prescriber and local pharmaceutical partners.
Despite these limitations, the importance of making PrEP available online cannot be overstated. The more people access PrEP the stronger the fight to eliminate new HIV infections by 2020 will be.
Medical providers and interested parties are calling upon the support for online PrEP prescriptions in a bid to make the HIV prevention drug accessible to as many people as possible in order to save more lives.