SUNDAY, MAY 20, 2018

CDC reports many physicians unaware of PrEP benefits

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to one-third of health care providers don't know about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which when taken as a daily pill reduces the risk of HIV infection by more than 90 percent in sexually active patients.

Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012, PrEP also reduces intravenous drug users' risk of infection by 70 percent. Despite its success in preventing HIV infection, approximately one in three primary care doctors and nurses are unaware of PrEP and its benefits.

“PrEP isn’t reaching many people who could benefit from it, and many providers remain unaware of its promise,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said. “With about 40,000 HIV infections newly diagnosed each year in the U.S., we need to use all available prevention strategies.”

While PrEP helps prevent infection, it is only one prevention strategy. Patients at risk should continue to use condoms correctly and consistently, reduce risky behavior and obtain sterile injection equipment from reliable sources. Those already infected with the virus should continue treatment to suppress the virus to ensure that they don't pass it on to their partners.

“PrEP has the potential to dramatically reduce new HIV infections in the nation,” CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention Director Jonathan Mermin said. “However, PrEP only works if patients know about it, have access to it, and take it as prescribed.”

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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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