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Bottles of antiretroviral drug Truvada. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


“Uber for birth control” start-up to also deliver HIV prevention medicine

By WITW Staff on March 29, 2016

Nurx, a San Francisco startup that has been described as the “Uber for birth control,” because it allows people to get a prescription through a mobile app without seeing a doctor, is expanding its services to also offer Truvada for PrEP, a daily HIV-prevention pill. From Tuesday onwards, patients in California will be able to obtain a prescription, by filing a request and filling out a health survey on the app, which is then reviewed remotely by a doctor, who decides whether or not the patient qualifies for PrEP.  Patients still need to undergo a blood test for HIV and renal function, before receiving a prescription, but the start-up is even experimenting with sending a phlebotomist in an Uber to the patient’s home to draw their blood. ”PrEP has been available for three years, and the CDC says people should be taking it, but they aren’t,” said Hans Gangeskar, one of Nurx’s co-founders, who sees birth control and PReP as two “failures of the current healthcare system” — drugs that should be widely available to the population that needs them, but aren’t.  While some 21,000 people take the daily drug, the CDC issued a report saying 1.2 million people in the US should actually be taking the drug, which has shown to be 90 percent effective at reducing HIV infections from sex. Gangeskar cites stigma (people being too ashamed to discuss it openly with their doctors), as well as a lack of information and available doctors who prescribe the pill as some of the reasons for people not getting PrEP, which he is trying to address through his app.

Read the full story at The Guardian.