Carlos Guillermo Smith gets Publix to provide HIV prevention drug
Publix faced backlash in early 2018 after officials from the Lakeland grocery chain confirmed employees were denied medical coverage for a pill that helps prevent HIV infections. Publix said it didn't generally offer coverage for a medical condition that someone might get in the future, despite the virus continuing to ravage communities in Florida – especially Orlando, which is one of 10 cities with the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses in the country. State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an openly gay progressive Democrat from Orlando, called baloney on that logic, pointing to Publix's medical coverage of birth control. After meeting with Smith, Publix reversed course and now covers the drug Truvada for use as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).