The CDC estimates that > 1.2 million people in the US could benefit from pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) aims to increase the number of adults prescribed PrEP by at least 500% by 2020, or about 47,832 people.
So far, prescriptions for PrEP increased by > 300% between 2014 and 2015. In 2015, 33,273 people had been prescribed PrEP, triple the NHAS target for that year, says Richard Wolitski, PhD, director, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy.
But according to 1 study, only 10% of the new prescriptions were for African Americans and 12% for Latinos, even though in 2016 African Americans accounted for 44% of new HIV diagnoses and Latinos for 25%. By contrast, 74% of new prescriptions were written for whites who made up only 26% of new diagnoses in 2016.
Such disparities highlight the need to continue to monitor uptake and expand efforts to increase use of PrEP, Wolitski says in his blog for HIV.gov. Studies show that daily PrEP can reduce the risk of acquiring HIV via sex by > 90% and > 70% among injection drug users.
The NHAS has added a PrEP indicator as 1 of 3 developmental indicators, introduced in 2016. Wolitski advocates multiple strategies for HIV prevention, including policies, programs, education, and monitoring. But he emphasizes that preventing HIV is only one component of an individual’s overall health and well-being—it’s also necessary to address other “competing needs,” such as access to jobs and housing, coordinated systems of care, and collaborations with social services.