1 in 4 gay men ‘should be taking’ HIV-preventing drugs
A body has recommended that 25 percent of gay men should be using PrEP drugs – which can prevent HIV infection.
When taken as a daily pill, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis drugs like Truvada can drastically reduce people’s chances of getting HIV. The drug is beginning to become routinely available in the US, though it is yet to become widely available in the UK.
In a report on the effectiveness of PrEP, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 21,000 people are so far taking the drug.
The CDC estimates that roughly 1.2 million Americans are in ‘at risk’ groups that should be taking Truvada – including 1 in 4 gay and bisexual men, 1 in 5 injectable drug users, and 1 in 200 heterosexual adults.
It recommends PrEP as standard for sexually active gay and bisexual adult men without HIV who have multiple partners, a partner with multiple partners, or a partner whose HIV status is unknown, and and also have unprotected anal sex.
PrEP is also recommended for gay and bisexual men who have an HIV-positive partner.
The body explained: “When taken every day, PrEP is safe and highly effective in preventing HIV infection.
“PrEP is even more effective if it is combined with other ways to prevent new HIV infections like condom use, drug abuse treatment, and treatment for people living with HIV to reduce the chance of passing the virus to others.
“Many people who can benefit from PrEP aren’t taking it. If more health care providers know about and prescribe PrEP, more HIV infections could be prevented.”
It notes that awareness is still low – 34% of primary care doctors and nurses had never heard of PrEP.
Speaking to Buzzfeed, the CDC’s Jonathan Mermin said: “There’s a large gap in the number of people who are accessing PrEP currently… but we think the demand for PrEP has reached somewhat of a tipping point.”