APhA stands with the global community today on the 35th commemoration of World AIDS Day. It’s an important opportunity to raise awareness about HIV infection, honor the lives affected by the epidemic, and commit to working toward eliminating HIV as a public health threat.
Although there have been significant advancements in treatment and management of HIV, the struggle to end this epidemic has been going on for too long. My heart goes out to those of you who have been touched by HIV and AIDS.
HHS has adopted a focused four-part plan to bring an end to the epidemic: diagnose all people with HIV as early as possible, treat people with HIV rapidly and effectively to reach sustained viral suppression, prevent new HIV transmissions by using proven interventions including PrEP and syringe services programs, and respond quickly to potential HIV outbreaks to get prevention and treatment services to people who need them.
Pharmacists play a key role in increasing access to HIV PrEP and PEP. Currently, 27 states allow pharmacists to prescribe PrEP and/or PEP independently under population-based collaborative practice agreements or under statewide orders or protocols. However, only 14 of those states have payment pathways in place that enable pharmacists to be reimbursed by Medicaid and/or commercial insurance for their services associated with HIV care.
APhA has been leading advocacy efforts to expand the role of community pharmacies in HIV prevention and care through increased scope of practice and corresponding payment pathways. In this, we are partnering with representatives from the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), NIH, CDC, HHS, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and many others. APhA also served as a coalition partner in two summits to discuss opportunities and challenges to opening the door for pharmacist patient care services, particularly in communities that are most at risk for HIV infection.
We are proudly wearing red ribbons today in recognition of World AIDS Day, and we look forward to a day when HIV infection is no longer a public health threat.
My very best,