CDC urges people at high risk of HIV infection to use PrEP

“This is a wonderful medical advance. I hope Truvada can be disseminated throughout the poorest countries who are most ravaged by HIV.” Bill Chesnut, MD

CDC urges people at high risk of HIV infection to use PrEP

The Washington Post (11/25, Cha) reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is making a “big push” to get more people at “substantial” risk of getting HIV to start on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The therapy “involves taking a daily pill – Truvada [tenofovir/emtricitabine] – that makes it more difficult for the virus to establish a permanent infection when a person is exposed to” the virus “through sexual contact or injectable drug use.” Research has shown that the therapy can reduce risk of infection “by 70 to more than 90 percent.”

USA Today (11/24, Szabo) reports that a national survey not yet published shows that though the “Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada in 2012, one-third of primary care doctors have never heard of PrEP.” The drug, manufactured by Gilead Sciences Inc., “costs about $10,000 a year, according to the CDC.” However, according to Carlos del Rio, co-director of the Emory Center for AIDS Research in Atlanta, many insurance plans cover the drug and those who are uninsured can get Truvada for free through Gilead’s patient assistance program.

Vox (11/24, Lopez) says the CDC report suggests PrEP is crucial for individuals who engage in risky behavior, such “sex with an HIV-positive partner, sex with multiple partners, anal sex without a condom, and sharing needles to inject drugs.”