Gilead changes hepatitis C assistance

The hepatitis C drug guide (July+August) looks better in person than I could have hoped for! I look forward to mailing them out to folks who call the H4H (Help for Hep) line and make sure they get spread all over.

One thing that has changed since we’ve gone to print: Gilead announced—very quietly and with no warning—that they are severely restricting access to the patient assistance programs for HCV. In a nutshell, if you have Medicaid or Medicare, you’re out of luck. They won’t cover you.

Suffice it to say, the advocacy community is not pleased.

—Andrew Reynolds
Hepatitis C Education Manager, Project Inform, San Francisco and author of the Third Annual Hepatitis C Drug Guide

Editor’s note: According to a statement from Gilead Sciences, its Support Path Patient Assistance Program (PAP) is designed to help those with HCV in the U.S. who have high co-pays or who lack adequate insurance to access Sovaldi or Harvoni. The program will also no longer cover those who are insured, but who do not meet their payer’s coverage criteria (for example, due to fibrosis score restrictions or preference for a different therapy, such as Viekira Pak).

Hep C patient resource

Hi, Andrew. I just read through the July+August issue of Positively Aware you collaborated on and think it is superb. Congratulations on such a comprehensive and easy-to-follow informational resource for patients. 

I am working on a patient app through the HepCure initiative ( with colleagues at Mount Sinai and wondered if you would allow us to incorporate some of the material in this issue of Positively Aware into the Patient Resource Section of the app. The app will be free of charge.

—Jeffrey J. Weiss, PhD, MS
Associate Professor, Icahn School of Medicine,
Mount Sinai; New York, NY

Editor’s Note: POSITIVELY AWARE and Project Inform are proud to be included in the outstanding hep C work of Jeffrey Weiss and Mount Sinai.

PrEP yes

I am a pharmacist and currently serving on the Kansas City PrEP Task Force. I was thrilled to see that the latest issue of Positively Aware (Summer 2015) was dedicated entirely to PrEP! As a health care professional I thoroughly enjoyed the special issue and see it as a conversational piece that gets the greater community talking about PrEP therapy. As a board member of the PrEP Task Force, I am trying to find effective ways to introduce and integrate PrEP as a health care measure that is acknowledged, accessible, and promoted in the community. The Task Force is focusing its attention on incorporating PrEP into common practice around the greater metropolitan area of Kansas City and promoting its use and value among individuals in the area.

I would like to see if someone at Positively Aware, a community organization in Chicago, David Evans, and/or Jim Pickett could provide recommendations or assistance to those here in Kansas City. As it was mentioned, smaller cities and towns that are less liberal have difficulty realizing PrEP’s potential. We hope Kansas City changes its current practice and dialogue.

—Rod Bastani, PharmD
Kansas City PrEP Task Force, Kansas City, MO

Jeff Berry replies: Thanks so much for your email; I’m glad you liked the issue and found it useful. I would suggest one thing you can do immediately, if you’re on Facebook and you’re not already a member of the Facebook group PrEP Facts: Rethinking HIV Prevention and Sex, you may want to join. There you’ll find over 7,000 researchers, community advocates, and people on PrEP who can answer questions and maybe offer assistance.

We and our clients enjoy your magazine very much. It is insightful and educational, as well as containing interesting articles (“Dr. No,” “Not Alone in the Journey,” Summer 2015). The more on PrEP, the better. We need to get this message out there and stop the stigma.

—Christian S. Battey
AIDS Project Rhode Island (APRI)
Providence, RI

Our staff and patients have appreciated PA for years. The PrEP issue came out just as we opened our PrEP clinic. Is there a way we can get more issues?  Thanks so much for all you do and have done!

—Sue Carter, MEd, LPCC, LSW
Ryan White Program
University of Toledo, Health Science Campus

Jeff Berry replies: Thank you, and yes, more copies of the PrEP issue are available upon request, free of charge. Email