Story at a glance
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published new guidance for doctors when it comes to prescribing PrEP, HIV-preventive medication.
- The guidance recommends that doctors inform all sexually active adults and adolescents about PrEP, including prescribing the medication to anyone who asks for it.
- In order to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030, the CDC says 50 percent of people who could benefit from PrEP need to use the drug.
There’s new guidance out that encourages doctors to prescribe HIV-preventative medication and to ramp up education on the options people have to treat and prevent infection.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published updated guidance Wednesday to expand access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a preventative medication that reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by up to 99 percent, and encourage doctors to prescribe the drug to more eligible patients.
The CDC’s updated guidance recommends that health care providers inform all sexually active adults and adolescents about PrEP, including prescribing the medication to anyone who asks for it, regardless of whether or not they report specific HIV risk behaviors.
The recommendation is fueled by the CDC’s desire to make PrEP more accessible to people who might be apprehensive about sharing their sexual history with doctors and afraid of the stigma that HIV carries.
According to the CDC, PrEP is recommended for those who test negative for HIV and have a sexual partner with HIV, or have not consistently used a condom or who have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease in the past six months.
Those who inject drugs and have an injection partner with HIV or share needles, syringes or other equipment to inject drugs are also recommended to take PrEP
The guidance comes shortly after the CDC published results from its Vital Signs study that found Black and Hispanic gay men experienced little decrease in reported HIV cases from 2010 to 2019, despite white gay men having a significant drop over that same time period.
Vital Signs confirmed significant inequities in access and delivery of HIV services among different racial and ethnic groups.
As of 2020, preliminary CDC data said about 25 percent of the 1.2 million people for whom PrEP was recommended, was actually prescribed it, compared to only about 3 percent in 2015.
PrEP is considered one of the most powerful tools available to prevent HIV transmission, and the CDC said on Wednesday that it is funding local organizations to conduct community outreach to people who could benefit most from the drug. That includes gay and bisexual men of color, Black women, transgender women and persons who inject drugs.
The White House has also attempted to solve for the lapse in HIV prevention in the U.S., with President Biden releasing a plan that aims to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030. The CDC said part of that goal includes having 50 percent of people who could benefit from PrEP use the drug.
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA