Taking a daily pill may be the next step to prevent the spread of HIV. Though health officials had simply suggested that wearing a condom was enough, health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now believe that pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, should be taken daily for those at high risk for infection.
“On average, it takes a decade for a scientific breakthrough to be adopted,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s national center for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, via The Boston Globe. “We hope we can shorten that time frame and increase people’s survival.”
The guidelines are specifically targeted towards gay men who have sex without condoms; heterosexual individuals who engage sexually with high risk partners; those who share needles or inject drugs; and male bisexuals or anyone who has unprotected sex regularly with high-risk or infected individuals.
“While a vaccine or cure may one day end the HIV epidemic, PrEP is a powerful tool that has the potential to alter the course of the U.S. HIV epidemic today,” said Dr.Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, via CNN. “These guidelines represent an important step toward fully realizing the promise of PrEP. We should add to this momentum, working to ensure that PrEP is used by the right people, in the right way, in the right circumstances.”
Findings from studies involving the drugs intervention showed that it can help reduce infection rates by more than 90 percent when taken daily.
“This is wonderful,” said Damon L. Jacobs, a therapist who has been on the regimen since 2011 and runs a Facebook page promoting it, via CNN. “When an institution like the CDC makes a statement, it makes a profound difference to the doctors who are ambivalent.”