Publix, the United States’ 13th largest retailer, will not offer its employees insurance covering PrEP

Publix, one of the largest retailers in the United States, with more than 1000 locations across the Southeast, and which positions itself as the largest employee-owned company in the world, does not offer its employees health insurance that covers pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), prompting criticism.

PrEP, a drug regimen prescribed for the prevention of HIV transmission, is widely seen as a major breakthrough in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

David Holland, M.D., M.H.S., director of the Fulton County PrEP clinic in Atlanta, told TheBody.com, an HIV/AIDS publication, about his unsuccessful efforts to get Publix to cover PrEP for one of its employees: “We’ve started over 400 people on PrEP at our clinic alone, and this is the only person that we weren’t able to get PrEP for.” 

The grocery store chain did not respond to written questions about its policy, leading some public health advocates to speculate that the company may be blocking coverage on moral grounds.

Publix scores a 0 on HRC’s assessment of LGBT+ workplace inclusion. Two descendants of Publix founder George W. Jenkins sit on the company’s board, and the Jenkins family has given generously to conservative political causes.

TheBody.com notes that three of the states Publix operates in – North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida – rank in the CDC’s list of the top 10 states with the highest number of HIV diagnoses in 2016.

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