President Trump Has the Power to End HIV Now, If He’s Willing to Use It

In response to President Trump’s stated commitment to end HIV, PrEP4All Collaboration members Robert Kessler and Nick Faust issued the following statement:

In Tuesday’s State of the Union, President Trump said he is committed to eliminating new HIV infections within the next ten years. For once, we agree with him. We can end HIV. But President Trump already has the power to do it. He can break the patent on PrEP, which keeps those who need it most from accessing it.

Americans continue to contract HIV at an alarming rate while other nations have seen a significant decline for one reason: Gilead Sciences has made the life-saving drug PrEP exorbitantly expensive.

Truvada as PrEP is extraordinarily effective—daily use is associated with a 99% reduction in the risk of HIV infection—and was invented and developed exclusively by research funded by the American taxpayer and the Gates Foundation. Despite this, Gilead Sciences, the sole manufacturer of Truvada in the United States, charges over $2,000 a month for the drug, despite costing less than $6 to manufacture.

Americans paid to develop PrEP and we are paying for it again each month because of the greed of Gilead and government inaction.

Governments across the globe have competed with Gilead by ensuring that generic versions of Truvada were released and universally available, lowering prices for at-risk populations. At the moment, there are no generics available in the US and there will not be for the foreseeable future.

If Trump really wants to eradicate HIV, it’s in his power. He can use the existing statutory authority to enable Americans to access generic versions of Truvada and use the savings generated to create programs that get the drug into the hands of communities that desperately need it. This will allow the government to cover every single American who needs to access PrEP—covering both prescriptions and care—for less than 10 percent of the amount of the federal government already spends on HIV care.

The PREP4ALL Collaboration is a group of activists of diverse backgrounds, dedicated to ensuring wider access to life-saving drugs like PrEP and ending the HIV epidemic. For additional information about the PREP4ALL Collaboration and its campaign to ensure access to PrEP, visit www.breakthepatent.org.