The news sparked an outrage, and now the supermarket chain has announced it will reverse its decision and will now expand to cover PrEP in its employee health care plan "as quickly as possible", said a representative for Publix in a series of tweets to Logo.
From March, Truvada will be funded for the prevention of HIV infection, a treatment known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, which has the potential to nearly completely eliminate the risk of HIV infection.
'Providing affordable access to PrEP for those who need it will make an enormous difference to those most at risk of HIV transmission in New Zealand, ' said New Zealand AIDS Foundation's (NZAF) executive director Dr Jason Myers.
The NZAF has compiled a list of Global Positioning System in the country who know a lot about HIV and PrEP.
Prior to this game changing development, PrEP was only available at a cost of around $1000 for 30 Truvada pills.
In 2016, 244 people were diagnosed with HIV - the highest rate of new diagnoses there has ever been in New Zealand. This is a very important step in addressing one of the health inequalities faced by trans men.
'It's a giant leap forward for our ambitious goal of ending new HIV transmissions in New Zealand by 2025'.
PrEP, also know as Truvada, helps protects against the HIV virus.
PrEP is up to 99% effective at preventing HIV transmission.
- PrEP consists of two drugs - emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. It's had a noticeable effect in helping lower HIV infection rates in big cities where it's widely available.
Given Publix has over 188,000 employees across seven states, this shift could benefit many people across the South.
About 3500 people in New Zealand are now estimated to be living with HIV.