PrEP For HIV: Raising Awareness; Could It Be The Cure For The Disease?

Since Truvada's approval in 2012, the CDC has been proactively recommending pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for patients at high-risk of HIV infection. However, although PrEP is highly effective, current data shows that few appropriate patients currently use PrEP. In line with this, a significant number of experts have recently revealed that certain factors like cost, awareness, adverse effect concerns, stigma, lack of provider access, and poor patient-provider communication are some of the commonly known barriers to wider PrEP usage.

Debunking PrEP

According to reports revealed by Ending HIV, PrEP is the use of antiretroviral drugs, taken by HIV negative people to prevent HIV infection. Additionally, researchers have claimed that the pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP is an exciting new tool that will play a vital role in the continuous efforts to end HIV in NSW by 2020. Unlike post exposure prophylaxis or PEP which is allegedly taken after a potential exposure to HIV, experts say that PrEP is taken on an ongoing basis and it provides protection against HIV.

Study On PrEP

Meanwhile, as per Pharmacy Times, a new article published in Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, a team of researchers from the City University of New York has found that fewer than 1 in 10 suitable PrEP candidates are currently taking PrEP. It was found that the study allegedly proposes a 5-level model called the Motivational PrEP Cascade: awareness, willingness, access, ability to obtain, and maintaining adherence. However, researchers have highly emphasized that the study conducted has apparently excluded former PrEP users, participants lost to follow-up, as well as those infected with HIV in the study's first 12 months.

Consequently, the study finds that some patients were willing to use PrEP, but lacked intention, which is a significant barrier to uptake and points to an area where counseling can make a difference. Furthermore, some patients who had access to a PrEP provider had not discussed the topic with their providers, and it turns out that half of eligible participants were still in the first "pre-contemplation" or unwilling phase of the motivational cascade. Ultimately, due to these known as well as other unprecedented factors, the experts have explained that public health measures should target both providers and patients to increase PrEP use.


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