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Four Ways to Pay for Your HIV Meds Now

By Michelle Garcia

As of 2012, an estimated one third of people with HIV in the United States were not on any sort of drug treatment, a situation that can rob them of healthy, long lives. Yes, HIV medication can be pricey, especially if you have to pay out of pocket. (In some cases, HIV treatment regimens may cost up to $5,000 per month.) But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to pay for it alone. There are a few ways to ease the cost of HIV drugs—and in some cases get your prescriptions covered entirely.

First Try ADAP

The AIDS Drug Assistance Program is a state-run system that helps people under a certain income level obtain their medications. Each state has its own set of guidelines to calculate who qualifies. Your state health department’s website should have information about how to apply for ADAP. At this point, there is no waiting list to get on the program, so you shouldn’t have to wait for coverage.

Don’t Worry if You Don’t Qualify for ADAP

People who can’t qualify for ADAP, Medicare, or Medicaid may be able to take advantage of Patient Assistance Programs, which provide free HIV medication. They are offered by drugmakers, and eligibility is based on a multiple of the federal poverty level. Participating companies include Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead, and ViiV Healthcare, and a standardized application for each of them is available though the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration’s HIV/AIDS Programs.

If All Else Fails

Most of the major HIV drug manufactures have a program to help you with co-pays for their medications. Atripla and Reyataz maker Bristol-Myers Squibb, AbbVie (which makes Kaletra and Norvir), and Gilead (the maker of Stribild and Truvada, among others) are just some of the drug companies that offer co-pay assistance. Check the websites of the individual companies for the terms of the programs, since the payment setup tends to vary.

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