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insurers begin to cover Sculptra

insurers begin to cover Sculptra

Facial wasting treatment is beginning to be covered by some health insurance companies.

Some health care insurance companies in California are beginning to cover the injectable medication Sculptra, used to treat HIV-related lipoatrophy, but AIDS activists are pushing for more plans to cover the treatment, reports The [San Jose] Mercury News. Sculptra, an injectable form of poly-L-lactic acid, is an effective treatment for facial wasting, but it is expensive; each treatment costs more than $1,000, and anywhere from three to six treatments are needed for visible, long-lasting results.

But despite the high price tag, Dana Van Gorder of the San Francisco AIDS Founation is calling on all health insurers in the state to pay for the treatments. "On a technical level, facial wasting is a byproduct of the HIV disease process as well as the treatment, so it ought to be dealt with as reconstructive surgery," she told The Mercury News. She also worries that because drug-related facial wasting is a tell-tale sign of HIV infection, some HIVers will avoid taking needed anti-HIV drugs to prevent the condition or will stop antiretroviral therapy if signs of facial wasting appear.

Some insurers in California share Van Gorder's concerns and are beginning to cover Scultpra treatment. Kaiser Permanente includes it as a covered benefit, allowing patients to pay a small co-pay to receive the treatment. Blue Cross of California, Pacificare, and the state's Medicaid program consider applications for Sculptra treatment on a case-by-case basis. (The Advocate)

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