This week, Gilead Pharmaceuticals announced that it will donate PrEP, the medication that prevents HIV, for up to 200,000 individuals in need. Research has found that up to 700,000 young people in the United States alone could benefit from PrEP. Yet, a recent study conducted in Washington DC where the rate of HIV transmission is double the national rate and 41% of new infections occur among youth, only 28% of 13 to 24 year old sexually active youth reported having ever heard of PrEP, and fewer than 15% had previously been offered PrEP by a health care provider.
We urge the Trump Administration to continue taking steps that can help young people protect their sexual health. The Administration’s policies too often run counter to the nation’s goal of drastically reducing HIV transmission in our lifetimes. The call on the administration to immediately cease funding dangerous and ineffective Sexual Risk Avoidance programs (formerly called Abstinence-only Until Marriage Education) that prioritize a just-say-no approach and instead fund honest sex education that includes all of the information young people need to become sexually healthy adults.
In addition, we urge the Administration to end its attacks on Planned Parenthood, lift the so-called “religious freedom” rule which allows providers to discriminate against LGBTQ young people, and put an end its own discriminatory policies that prohibit people living with HIV to serve in the military. Stigma and discrimination promoted through these policies exacerbate HIV disparities and put the very health and well-being of America’s youth in harm’s way.