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State officials urge residents to participate in program providing free HIV-prevention medication


The state is urging Michigan residents to participate in a program providing free HIV-prevention medication.

The program, Ready, Set, PrEP, was announced by the Trump Administration in December. It’s part of their goal to reduce HIV infections by 90 percent over the next 10 years.

The program offers the PrEP HIV prevention medication free to residents who don’t have HIV, have a prescription for the drug, and don’t have insurance that covers prescription drugs.

Lynn Sutfin is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“When it’s used properly it can reduce the risk of getting HIV by sex by about 99%. It’s very important for individuals who may be at risk for HIV.”

The medication also reduces the risk of HIV by 75 percent among people who inject drugs.

Sutfin said the number of new HIV diagnoses have leveled off.

“We have 16-thousand individuals who are living with HIV. Detroit area is definitely one of the areas where we’re seeing a lot of the new diagnosis and they are disproportionately affected by the disease.”

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 30% of new infections crom from people who don’t know they have HIV.

Without a prescription, a month's supply of the medication can cost between $1,600 and $2,000.