APLA Health CEO Craig E. Thompson issued the following statement following a ruling from a U.S. District Judge in Texas that a federal health insurance mandate to cover PrEP – a highly effective medication for the prevention of HIV – violates the religious freedom of a Christian-owned company that provides health insurance to its employees:
“This decision is outlandish and shocking in so many ways, but it continues a series of equally unthinkable attacks on LGBTQ+ and reproductive rights in Texas and other states across the country – including efforts to criminalize gender-affirming care for transgender youth and abortion services.
“PrEP is a key pillar of federal, state, and local efforts to end the HIV epidemic. Over the past decade alone, PrEP has allowed hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. to take charge of their own health and remain HIV negative. Someone’s religious beliefs should have no place in determining whether someone else has access to this highly effective medication.
“The company that brought the case in Texas objected to providing insurance policies that include PrEP ‘claiming they facilitate and encourage homosexual behavior, intravenous drug use, and sexual activity outside of marriage between one man and one woman’. Not only is that contention factually false, but once again we are witnessing a right-wing fringe element using religion to launch more attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and others seeking to exercise control over their own health care decisions.
“While this week’s decision is extremely limited and will likely be appealed, given the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court, it could very well be upheld nationally and have even more far-reaching implications. APLA Health stands with our partners in condemning this discriminatory ruling and remains committed to protecting access to PrEP and other critically needed health care services for the LGBTQ+ community.”
APLA Health restores dignity and trust within underserved communities by providing world-class LGBTQ+ empowering healthcare, support services, and HIV specialty care. Since 1983, APLA Health has remained steadfast in its commitment to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our lifetime. The agency is a multi-site operation includes eight Federally Qualified health Center (FQHC) locations, serving more than 18,000 people annually in Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous. We provide 20 different services including: medical, dental, behavioral health and HIV specialty care; PrEP counseling and management; health education and HIV prevention; and STD screening and treatment. For people living with HIV, we offer housing support; benefits counseling; home healthcare; and the Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; among several other critically needed services. Additionally, we are leaders in advocating for policy and legislation that positively impact the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities and conduct community-based research on issues affecting the communities we serve. For more information on APLA Health visit https://aplahealth.org.