There’s a new entry in the fight against HIV - and it’s as simple as taking a pill.
For those at more substantial risk for contracting HIV, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention have started to make a great push for them to start on PrEp or pre-exposure prophylaxis therapy. This would involve taking a daily pill of Truvada, which would make it increasingly difficult for HIV to establish itself permanently in the body when the person is exposed to it through sexual contact or needles.
The proof for this push is in the pudding: studies have shown that it can reduce the risk for HIV by 70-90%. Impressive results released in a single study last year showed that 100% of participants taking Truvada remained HIV-free for two years. It wasn’t a small control group either - the study involved more than 600 high-risk individuals, most of whom were homosexual men.
PrEP is estimated to cost about $10,000 a year, but Medicaid and most private insurances will cover it. To date, it seems that PrEp is one of the world’s greatest weapons in fighting HIV. Unfortunately, surveys carried out have shown that most of the American population is unaware of it, and that needs to change.
"PrEP isn't right for everyone. No single method is, but it's right for some people, and when the men and women at high risk adhere to PrEP or whatever prevention methods work for them, we can make gains in national efforts," said Eugene McCray, director of the division of HIV/AIDS prevention at the CDC.
If you consider yourself at higher risk for HIV or know someone who is, ensure you are aware that it would be helpful to consult a doctor about whether starting PrEp therapy would be a good fit.