1. Increased access to HIV testing.Thanks to medical experts’ recommendation that Americans between the ages of 15 and 65 get regularly screened for the virus, annual HIV testing willnow be covered under Obamacare. And in addition to removing some of the cost barriers to getting tested, this past year also included advances in the ease and availability of HIV testing. TheFDA approvedthe first over-the-counter test that can be taken at home, and theCDC rolled out a pilot programto allow Americans in low-income areas to get tested for HIV at their local pharmacy. Since the CDCestimatesthat as many as 20 percent of the 1.1 million Americans who have HIV aren’t aware they’re infected with the virus, taking steps to ensure that testing is affordable and accessible is more important than ever.
2. Improved coverage under Obamacare.Before Obamacare, HIV-positive Americans oftenstruggled to enrollin private insurance plans — but since insurers will no longer be able to discriminate against people with HIV based on their pre-existing condition,Obamacare will ensurethat more HIV-positive individuals can access health care. Furthermore, the health law eliminates lifetime caps on coverage, so people with the virus won’t reach limits on the amount of HIV treatment their insurance companies are willing to cover for them. Obamacarealso stipulatesthat HIV-positive Americans don’t have to have AIDS before accessing Medicaid coverage — an old requirement for participating in the program — so those with HIV won’t have to wait until they’re sicker before getting the health insurance they need.
3. Better, simpler treatments for the virus.In July, the World Health Organization noted that future HIV infections could be totally eliminated with the help of the current “arsenal of drugs” developed to combat the virus. And that same month, the FDAofficially approved TruVada, the first oral pill available to treat HIV. TruVada combines four medications in one to treat HIV-positive individuals — and since it’s just one pill that only needs to be taken once a day, it helps ease the treatment process.