The state medical insurance funds of Germany will incur the costs of providing PrEP
German Health Minister Jens Spahn said that the costs of providing pre-exposure HIV prevention (PrEP) for people at high risk will be borne by the state health insurance funds. He said this on Thursday in an interview with Deutsches Ärzteblatt.
The German association AIDS-Hilfe (Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe, DAH), which has been carrying out a campaign for reimbursement of costs for PrEP for a long time, supported the initiative of the ministry.
Winfried Holz, a member of DAH's board, said:
"The new measure is an important milestone in HIV prevention in Germany. Public funding will provide people with access to HIV prevention and, thus, prevent many infections. This is a decisive step to unlock the potential of this preventive remedy".
At the moment, people at risk are forced to pay for pre-exposure HIV prevention themselves, writes AIDS-Hilfe. Given the cost of drugs, as well as medical consultations and concomitant surveys, prevention for many remains unavailable. Some people want to save themselves, they bring PrEP from abroad, but they often drink tablets without proper supervision and care. This also creates risks.
According to the University of Essen estimates, the total number of people who receive PrEP in Germany is only about 5,000.
As Holtz stressed, HIV prevention "should not fail in the wallet".
The initiative of the authorities, according to DAH, is extremely timely. According to a study conducted by the University of Rotterdam, by 2030 PrEP can reduce the number of new HIV cases in the country by about 9,000.
The experience of Australia, the USA and England confirms this. The availability of PrEP, among other things, helps to reduce the annual increase in PLHIV, and therefore eliminates the need for long-term treatment costs for HIV patients.
Nevertheless, experts emphasize, despite the importance of free access to PrEP, in no case should one forget about the need for counseling and professional medical care, including, among other things, regular tests for HIV and STI.
"They can detect infections that could go unnoticed and passed on to another person. Testing only benefits", says Holtz.