Treatment And Care: Learning To Live With Hiv
The methods for treating and caring for individuals with HIV went through a revolution in the 21st century. Here are some things newly diagnosed individuals should know:
Who provides HIV care?
HIV care can be provided by an infectious disease specialist, but internal medicine specialists, general practice doctors and nurse practitioners can all potentially be the primary physician someone with HIV goes to. Preventing HIV from developing into AIDS, though, is not a matter of just sticking to a drug regimen â and healthcare providers approach it holistically. For instance, people living with HIV may need to see a nutritionist regularly to make sure their diet is appropriate. Similarly, appointments with a mental health counselor or substance abuse counselor may also be essential in maintaining â or transitioning to â wellness.
When should I start looking for an HIV provider?
Find an HIV provider as soon as you are diagnosed so you can get on ARVs quickly and begin slowing the virus. Local nonprofits can help you find providers in your area, as can clinics that provide testing services. Family doctors can also recommend and refer you to quality providers.
How can I prepare for my first appointment? How can I get the most out of my care?
Ontario To Cover Hiv Prevention Drugs
Ontario is set to cover the once-daily pill under public health plan Ontario is set to cover PrEP , under its public health plan. Ontarios Health Ministry added the HIV prevention pill to its formulary of publicly covered drugs on Thursday, effective September 28. Ontario is the second province in Canada to cover the combination HIV prevention pill. Quebecs drug program already covers PrEP for HIV treatment and prevention while British Columbia is currently in discussions about the availability and accessibility of the drug. Simply put, PrEP is a once-a-day pill that contains two anti-HIV drugs that have been proven to prevent the transmission of HIV by up to 99 percent with adherence but can cost as much as $1,000 per month for the original brand, Truvada. Previously most private insurance plans covered PrEP, since they generally cover drugs that have Health Canadas approval . But, the specifics depended on the details of each persons individual plan and some Health Insurance companies didnt cover the cost of the drug at all. With Health Canada finally on board, the government will cover the cost of Truvada, taken as PrEP, improving access to all gay men living in Ontario. While PrEP has been shown to reduce risk of HIV infection through sex for gay and bisexual men, the medication does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections.
Strides Against Hiv/aids In The Us Falter As Resources Diverted To Fight Covid
“You have to go to the doctor basically four times a year, at least per CDC guidelines, and get a checkup to make sure that you don’t have HIV and that everything else kind of looks OK,” James Krellenstein of the advocacy group PrEP4All told NPR’s Steve Inskeep. “A lot of health insurance wouldn’t cover it. People would be stuck laboratory bills and clinic visits.”
Recent federal guidance says health insurance companies must cover all of the costs for the treatment, including the medication, doctor’s visits, and lab tests.
Krellenstein says for those who have health insurance, this removes a major barrier to getting on PrEP. But for those without insurance, issues remain.
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Who Is At Risk For Hiv
Although transmission factors are the same for everyone, some groups are more at risk for HIV than others. If you fall into one of the following categories, consider talking to your doctor about specific ways you can reduce your HIV risk.
While anyone is able to contract HIV, gay and bisexual men are more at risk than other gender groups. They accounted for 70 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in 2017, notes the CDC. Another important factor within this demographic is age – also according to the CDC, in 2010, gay and bisexual men aged 13 to 34 accounted for 64 percent of those new infections.
Due primarily to sharing needles, intravenous drug users are at a higher risk of acquiring HIV than non-users. HIV is also most commonly transmitted via sexual intercourse and sex workers often engage in sexual activity with many different partners, which can increase the risk of HIV. Mixing these two activities further increases the risk, according to the CDC.
Some ethnic and racial groups see relatively high concentrations of the virus in their communities. African-Americans are the most affected group in America, making up 43 percent of all new cases in 2017, according to the CDC. Hispanics/Latinos are also disproportionately affected, accounting for 26 percent of new diagnoses in 2017. Although smaller in size than other ethnic groups, the CDC notes that American Indians, Alaska and Hawaii natives, and Pacific islanders all experience higher rates of infection than Asians or whites.
B: Aids Drug Assistance Program
Part B of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 provides grants to U.S. states and territories. The AIDS Drug Assistance Program is a state and territory-administered program authorized under Part B that provides FDA-approved medications to low-income people living with HIV who have limited or no health coverage from private insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare. ADAP funds may also be used to purchase health insurance for eligible clients and for services that enhance access to, adherence to, and monitoring of drug treatments.
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Many Health Plans Now Must Cover Full Cost Of Expensive Hiv Prevention Drugs
Ted Howard started taking Truvada a few years ago because he wanted to protect himself against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. But the daily pill was so pricey he was seriously thinking about giving it up.
Under his insurance plan, the former flight attendant and customer service instructor owed $500 in copayments every month for the drug and an additional $250 every three months for lab work and clinic visits.
Luckily for Howard, his doctor at Las Vegas Huntridge Family Clinic, which specializes in LGBTQ care, enrolled him in a clinical trial that covered his medication and other costs in full.
If I hadnt been able to get into the trial, I wouldnt have kept taking PrEP, said Howard, 68, using the shorthand term for preexposure prophylaxis. Taken daily, these drugs like Truvada are more than 90% effective at preventing infection with HIV.
Starting this month, most people with private insurance will no longer have to decide whether they can afford to protect themselves against HIV. Most health plans must begin to cover the drugs then without charging consumers anything out-of-pocket .
The task force recommended PrEP for people at high risk of HIV infection, including men who have sex with men and injection drug users.
Hiv Med Costs/health Insurance
|4/1/2017 14:42 ESTI am seriously considering retiring in Mexico. I’ve visited several times, speak Spanish fluently. My health is good, except I have HIV. The meds are outrageously expensive here. What are medical insurance/coverage options for a gringo living there? Does anyone know how much HIV meds would cost out-of-pocket? Availability of the same?|
|4/1/2017 16:26 ESTSince you speak Spanish, I suggest you call any Farmacia Guadalajara and ask them for the price of the medication you need. To my understanding, Mexican private insurance will not cover your preexisting condition. In any case, as you’ve heard, medical care in Mexico is a small fraction of what the same care is NOB.Alex|
For more than 20 years, GeoBlue has helped the globally mobile navigate the complexities of international health insurance, providing members with confidence and peace of mind. Wherever your destination, GeoBlue can keep you and your family covered with the right health insurance. .
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Enrollment For 2022 Marketplace Coverage
Open Enrollment for 2022 Marketplace coverage runs November 1, 2021 January 15, 2022. Enroll by December 15, 2021 for coverage that starts January 1, 2022. Visit HealthCare.gov.
Still need health coverage for 2021? You can still get or change plans if you have certain life changes or qualify for Medicaid or CHIP. Learn more.
Health Insurance Coverage For Hiv
When you learn of your HIV diagnosis, you may also worry about having health insurance to cover these risks. The good news is that your health insurance is likely to cover any diagnosis of HIV as well as your treatment for it as long as the policy remains in place. For many people with HIV, this is very important. That is because HIV medications and early symptoms of HIV and its management can mean costly medical bills. Having an insurance policy you can rely on to cover these costs can be vitally important to protecting yourself from such costs.
What if you have HIV and need to buy health insurance? This can be done. Todays health insurance companies provide coverage to patients with preexisting conditions like HIV. This can help you with a variety of opportunities. Be sure to choose a policy that includes your doctors, if you plan to continue to use them, as well as any type of care you may need going forward such as care at medical facilities and hospitals you like. HIV medications are expensive, which makes choosing a health insurance policy with a good prescription drug plan also important. And, HIV disease management may include some treatments that are experimental. Only some health insurance companies will cover these costs.
Most importantly, learning to live with HIV means maintaining high-quality health insurance. With the help of your doctor and a good plan, you may be able to manage your health and HIV disease for years to come with success.
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Tips For Making Your Hiv Drugs More Affordable
Affording quality healthcare for the average American is tough enough without the added challenge of a chronic illness. Arguably, for people living with HIV, the challenges are greater given the high cost of HIV drugs, the need for optimal treatment adherence, and the demand for continual, lifelong medical treatment and care.
Consider, for example, that the average, individual lifetime cost of HIV is well over $400,000 and this for persons who start treatment early and largely avoid the illnesses associated with later-stage disease.
Now add to this the cost of HIV therapy, which carries an average price tag of over $2,000 per month, and the obstacles grow even clearer. Even with prescription drug coverage, many of these medications remain unaffordable due to “adverse tiering” practices by which insurers can demand anywhere from 20% to 50% coinsurance payment for each and every drug prescription.
This means that a person with a “low” 20% coinsurance benefit could easily pay between around $500 per month to get Triumeq, an otherwise standard, one-pill option. And that doesnt even take into account the cost of deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses that could add up to thousands of dollars before your benefits even kick in.
For those seeking relief, here are 4 simple ways to reduce the high costs of HIV treatment and care.
Free Or Affordable Hiv Treatment Alternatives For Patients Without Health Insurance
Health insurance disruption is one of the most common challenges for HIV treatment. If you lose your job or change your health insurance, theres a chance that available insurance plans no longer cover your medications or doctor visits. Your doctor may no longer be in-network, which may require you to start over with another HIV doctor.
You might think that if you lose your insurance, you have no way to afford or continue your treatment regimen. This is not the case. If you have a sudden break in your health insurance, it’s really important to speak with your doctor or clinics social worker. They can actually connect you with local public health programs to get free HIV medication.
Hows this possible? HIV is a matter of public health, so it’s in your communitys best interest to make sure youre able to continue HIV treatment without insurance. Thats because when your viral load stays low, you have a much lower risk of transmitting HIV to others. Everyone wins when people with HIV have consistent and affordable access to their medication.
Here are some options to continue treatment if you lose or change your health insurance:
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Take A Strategic Approach When Choosing An Insurance Plan
Working out which policy is best for you and your family is often like putting together an ill-fitting puzzle. If youre a person living with HIV, you would typically calculate your annual premium plus your annual deductible plus your annual drug co-pay costs to estimate your overall healthcare expenditure. A simple enough equation, it would seem.
Or is it?
Given the high cost of HIV drugs, its not unusual to find yourself paying more-or-less the same monthly costs irrespective of whether you get a high premium/low deductible/low co-pay policy or a low premium/high deductible/high co-pay policy.
This is because HIV drugs will almost invariably be placed on a high-priced “specialty” drug tier if you have a low-cost policy. And, even if its not, your annual deductible will most likely be set so high that youll end up spending a fortune before you can even access any benefits.
But its not always the case. Here a few, simple tips for choosing the right insurance policy if you are a person living with HIV:
Medicaid Spending On Hiv
Medicaid is a means-tested entitlement program, jointly financed by the federal and state governments. In the traditional program, the federal government matches state Medicaid spending at rates ranging from 50% to 77% .19 Under the ACA, the federal match for the expansion population is higher. It began at 100% in 2014, and is phasing down to 90% in 2020 and thereafter.
In FY 2019, federal Medicaid spending on HIV is estimated to total $6.3 billion, accounting for 30% of all federal spending on HIV care and representing the second largest source of public financing for HIV care in the U.S, after Medicare .20 In addition, the statesâ share of Medicaid spending on HIV was estimated to be an additional $3.8 billion in FY 2019.21 Medicaid spending on HIV has increased over time, reflecting growing numbers of beneficiaries with HIV and the rising cost of care and treatment. Between 2013 and 2019, federal Medicaid spending on HIV increased by 60%, rising from $3.97 billion to $6.3 billion.22 Still, in FY 2019 federal Medicaid spending on HIV represents less than 2% of total federal Medicaid spending.
Figure 3: Federal Funding for HIV/AIDS Care in the U.S., by Program, FY 2019
Medicaid beneficiaries with HIV have different spending patterns than beneficiaries overall, and spending on HIV treatment, due to the high cost of HIV medications, has an outsized impact on the program:23,24
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What Is The Recommended Pep Regimen
All persons offered PEP should be prescribed a 28-day course of a 3-drug antiretroviral regimen. Since adherence is critical for PEP efficacy, it is preferable to select regimens that minimize side effects, number of doses per day and the number of pills per dose.
The preferred PEP regimen for otherwise healthy adults and adolescents is tenofovir disoproxil fumarate + emtricitibine 200 mg) once daily PLUS raltegravir twice daily or dolutegravir once daily).
Can You Afford Your Hiv Treatment
HIV medications can be very expensive, so it pays to be savvy about programs available to help defray the costs.
Theres no getting around it: HIV drugs cost a lot of money. In fact, the lifetime cost of care for a person living with HIV can total hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the good news is that no one living with HIV in the United States has to pay the full cost out of his or her own pocket.
The average cost of HIV treatment is $14,000 to $20,000 a year, says Michael Kolber, MD, a professor of medicine and director of the Comprehensive AIDS Program and Adult HIV Services at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida. If youre paying $1,000 a month, youre doing really well.
Modern HIV drugs can keep people healthy for decades, but if you take them you could be facing well over $400,000 or more in lifetime costs for HIV treatment. Unfortunately, real or perceived cost is a significant barrier to care data suggests that only about half of low-income people living with HIV are receiving the HIV drugs they need because of cost.
However, Dr. Kolber says, the cost of HIV/AIDS treatment has come down as HIV drugs have become more sophisticated. Single-dose or combination HIV drugs can significantly reduce direct costs and co-pays.
Paying for Your HIV Drugs
HIV drug costs can be covered in a variety of ways:
Coping With HIV Costs
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Additional Services And Resources
Individuals living with HIV and AIDS may be eligible for additional services funded through the Ryan White Program, including case management, nutritional support, transportation and free legal services. Contact the California Department of Public Healths Office of AIDS at 449-5900 for more information.
The Cost Of Hiv Treatment
Forty years ago, HIV and AIDS were unheard of in the United States. The first cases of what was then a mysterious illness were diagnosed in the 1980s, but effective treatments took several more decades to develop.
A cure for HIV doesnt yet exist, but treatments are available to extend the lives of those with HIV and help stop transmission of the virus. Many of the highly active antiretroviral therapies available today work effectively to slow the progression of disease caused by HIV.
But all treatments come with a cost some more than others. Lets take a look at the average costs of HIV treatment and potential ways to save money.
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