PrEPing Communities to Curb the Spread of HIV
News Today we have more ways to prevent HIV than ever before. Yet, too many Americans continue to be diagnosed with HIV, and those at risk still don’t know about prevention options available to them.
A powerful new option for those at high risk for HIV is pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. A daily pill, PrEP has been proven to be safe and effective in stopping the virus from taking hold in the body. When taken every day, PrEP can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted HIV infection by 90 percent or more.
Many Americans at high risk for HIV infection may not consistently and correctly use other proven prevention methods, such as condoms or sterile injection equipment, and are therefore not fully protected.
"The onus is on health care providers, counselors, advocates, individuals and communities to ensure that people at risk for HIV learn about PrEP..."
These individuals—who include gay and bisexual men, heterosexuals and injection drug users—need to know that PrEP is an option. But many health care providers have never heard of PrEP, and available data suggest that the message isn’t reaching all who need it.
Spreading the means
Fortunately, there are clinical guidelines currently being developed to help providers discuss risk and prevention options with their patients. This effort falls to multiple fronts: partnerships with state and local health departments, clinical partners and community organizations to support PrEP delivery to those who need it most.
The onus is on health care providers, counselors, advocates, individuals and communities to ensure that people at risk for HIV learn about PrEP, those who would benefit from PrEP have access to it, and those who use PrEP have the support they need to take it every day. We have the tools to make significant progress toward ending the nation’s HIV epidemic. Let’s make the most of them.