AHF Questions Wisdom, Ethics of App to Deliver Prescriptions for PrEP without any Direct Contact with a Medical Provider

As STD rates skyrocket, particularly among young people using hookup
apps like Grindr and Tinder, AHF challenges wisdom of an app that allows
people to order drug to prevent HIV as readily as ordering pizza

Healthcare Foundation
(AHF) expressed concern today over news of a
Bay Area start up company that has developed an app that allows
individuals to order medical prescriptions online for pre-exposure
prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection without any direct contact
with a medical provider or physician.

According to the San
Jose Mercury News
, the start up, named Nurx, can eliminate “…time-consuming
and potentially embarrassing face-to-face doctors visits for PrEP,”
that a “…user will log on to the app, answer a handful of questions
about his or her sexual history and health, and visit a lab or
community clinic for blood work to test for HIV, hepatitis and kidney

“While the goal to improve access to effective HIV prevention tools is
admirable, removing any or all direct contact with a physician or
medical provider is not,” said Michael Weinstein, President of
AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has criticized and cautioned against
the widespread deployment of PrEP as a community wide public health
strategy, such as the CDC’s recommendation that 1.2 million individuals
go on PrEP, but supports its use on a case-by-case basis decided upon
between a medical provider and his or her patient. “At a time when STD
rates are skyrocketing, particularly among young people using hookup
apps like Grindr and Tinder, we challenge the wisdom and ethics of an
app that allows people to order a drug to prevent HIV as readily as
ordering pizza. PrEP is not simply a pill taken in isolation: It is a
four-part HIV prevention strategy that can be highly effective, but one
that offers no protection against any other STDs. Eliminating primary
contact with the physician or medical provider from this equation is
really a disservice to the patient.”

PrEP as a prevention strategy includes use of Gilead
successful AIDS treatment medication Truvada
to prevent HIV infection in non-infected individuals.

Gilead’s Truvada was first approved for treatment of HIV/AIDS patients
in August 2004. The FDA formally approved use of Truvada as PrEP on July
16, 2012. Guidelines issued by the FDA for PrEP for individuals include
1) an initial baseline negative HIV test; 2) daily adherence to the
Truvada medication; 3) ongoing periodic HIV testing to ensure the
individual on PrEP remains HIV-negative; and 4) continued use of other
prevention methods, such as condoms.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
605,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare


AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Ged Kenslea, Communications
+1.323.791.5526 mobile
+1.323.960.4846 work