CDC is trying to spread awareness about HIV pill, PrEP

(Mirror Daily, United States) – After an extensive study on national data, the CDC claims more people should be taking HIV pills than there already are in order to put a halt on the disease spreading. There are multiple strategies to tackle the issue of the infection, but the PrEP pill seems to be one of the most effective.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that, while the pill is currently in use, it’s not by far targeting all those vulnerable to the disease. Their estimations stated that an additional of 1.2 million people should be taking PrEP to prevent infection and stop its spreading.

Effectively, they have drawn attention to 25% of the gay and bisexual men who are sexually active, 20% of intravenous drug users, and under 1% of the heterosexual sexually active adults. Given lifestyle factors and risky behavior, such as unprotected sex with multiple partners, and using unsafe and unsterile needles, they are the most vulnerable. And, thus, should be targeted for prescriptions of PrEP.

The pill in question, PrEP has proven itself effective up to 90% in preventing HIV infection when encountering the virus during unsafe sex. In fact, it’s seen as the backup and second line of defense for condoms. It drastically decreases the chances of becoming infected in those who indulge in intercourse without proper protection.

For intravenous drug users, it has proven itself to be 70% effective in preventing infection that can spread through using unsafe needles from others carrying the disease.

Regardless, the CDC reports that are 40,000 new HIV infections diagnosed each year in the United States. This calls for a more intense use of all their available strategies, though it has become difficult to pinpoint the exact cause why most do not take the pill as a preventive measure. However, there are certain theories that could see to a fix.

For one, even though PrEP has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012, another study has concluded that 34% of health care providers are unaware of its existence. This means that one third of medical health professionals do not know of PrEP’s effective and preventive ability at fighting off HIV infections.

Furthermore, the study has underlined the issue that while some are aware of its existence, they are uncomfortable prescribing it due to various reasons.

The CDC expressed the need for better strategies at spreading awareness about PrEP, by providing testing and early care for the disease, support for people with HIV, and an universal viral suppression. Efforts have proven themselves useful in the past. For example, New Yorkers covered by Medicaid raised the numbers of PrEP prescriptions picked up from 303 between 2013-2014 to 1,330 between 2014-2015.

The effort works. It just has to be doubled and continue until all those vulnerable to the infection will be aware of the benefits of taking PrEP.

Image source: ctvnews.ca