VICTORY: Publix Reverses Stance. Will Make PrEP Available To Employees

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Posted on February 6, 2018 - 11:38am by Brittany.

 
Equality Florida Celebrates Publix Reversal on PrEP
Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - Today, after a week-long battle, Publix announced they reversed their stance on providing PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to prevent the transmission of HIV to their more than 188,000 employees across 7 southern states. Equality Florida immediately responded to the news from Ryan Lee from The Body by calling on the supermarket giant to reconsider their healthcare coverage to include PrEP for their employees. 

This is major step in the right direction to knock down Florida from the #1 spot of new HIV transmissions in the nation. In fact, all 7 states where Publix stores exist will benefit from this decision. Southern states account for 44% of all people living with HIV in the United States, and diagnosis rates for people in the South are higher than for Americans overall. The disparity of transmissions disproportionately affects African American men and women; of all HIV new cases among Blacks, 60% of men and 69% of women come from the South. 

Equality Florida mobilized our members and the community in general to take a stand against Publix’s policy. Citizens reported back to us that they themselves had taken charge. Customers posted about Publix, threaten to boycott the store, to stop supporting them, and some spoke to store managers requesting an answer as to why they would deny their employees from this life-saving preventative medication. 

Thanks to all who called and reached out to Publix when news broke that they were denying employees access to PrEP via the company's insurance plan. Special thanks to our colleague, State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, who met with Publix and discussed the critical importance of PrEP availability, particularly in a state with the highest HIV transmission rate in the country. It was his tweet that Publix responded to when they announced their decision. We are grateful to Publix for responding to the voices from the community and making this critical change in policy. 

Publix announced the change in policy via Twitter in a message to Rep. Smith. Their statement read:

"Publix appreciates the concerns shared by our associates and customers. We offer generous health coverage to our eligible full-time and part-time associates at an affordable premium and are committed to the health and well-being of our associates and their families. We regularly evaluate what is covered by our health plan and have made the decision to expand our health plan’s coverage of Truvada to include Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). We are working with our pharmacy benefits manager to implement this change as quickly as possible."

It is important to recognize that this, although a major development against the fight of HIV in the South, represents just a small fraction of what we can do as a community to demand inclusion. This is a reminder that we have the power to incite change, that when we unite as a single voice, those with power will listen. It is our job to keep resisting the discriminatory practices wherever we see them, especially in this volatile political environment. Today, we celebrate as one because this is for all of us regardless of gender, sexuality, or HIV status.

 
Learn more about Equality Florida's HIV Advocacy Project and ways YOU can combat HIV in the Sunshine State here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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