Skip to main content
Home » Living With HIV & AIDS » Why HIV Is a Health Equity Issue

Addressing health equity is on the agenda for many employers. Based on health and benefits consultant Mercer’s research, about 60% of large employers are doing something to address health equity, with most efforts focused on ensuring members can identify culturally competent providers and identifying gaps in care based on gender, race, or sexual orientation.

Tracy Watts

Senior Partner, National Leader of U.S. Healthcare Policy, Mercer

Because HIV has a disproportionate impact on Black, Latino, and LGBTQ+ communities, it is a perfect match for focused health equity efforts.

If you need a business case to convince you to take action, HIV treatment medication costs are more than double the preventive medication costs per year. 

Your first question may be how to decide if this initiative is right for your company and your population. There are two places to start. First, take a look at your specialty pharmacy list. Chances are you will find several HIV prevention or treatment drugs on your top 10 specialty drug list. If you do not know how to tell, ask your pharmacy vendor partner for help. 

Second, your geographic locations are also a great indicator. Check out the AIDSVu map created by Emory University with CDC data showing the rates of people living with HIV. See if you have people in the areas with the highest incidence rates. There are additional maps within the site that will help you better understand the geographic reach of the epidemic.

The good news is that resources exist to help employers do this work. U.S. Business Action to End HIV is a coalition that has already developed tools for employers.

Modern HIV prevention and treatment

HIV is no longer the death sentence it once was. Thanks to continuing medical advances, HIV can be controlled like other chronic health conditions, and people with HIV can live full, healthy lives. And prevention medications (called PrEP) offer people highly effective protection against HIV — if they know about it and can get it. Those receiving treatment and whose viral load is suppressed to undetectable levels cannot transmit HIV to their partners.

This year, take the opportunity to change lives for the better — put “eliminate HIV” on your health equity agenda.

Learn more by reading Mercer’s US Health News Blog

Next article