1 in 4 gay men should be taking HIV prevention medication

Gay Sauna

One in four sexually active gay and bisexual men should be taking daily medications to help prevent HIV

This advice comes from a new report issued by the US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC says the drug, preexposure prophylaxis or PrEP can reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV by more than 90 percent.

However, “PrEP isn’t reaching many people who could benefit from it, and many providers remain unaware of its promise,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden.

For people who are at high risk of contracting the virus, taking PrEP include could greatly reduce their risk of infection.

These groups include:

  • Anyone in a relationship with a person infected with HIV
  • Gay or bisexual men who have had anal sex without a condom or been diagnosed with an STD in the past 6 months
  • Heterosexual men or women who do not regularly use condoms during sex with partners of unknown HIV status
  • Anyone who has injected illicit drugs over the past six months or shared needles.

In Ireland, the numbers of young people being diagnosed with HIV is on the rise. The CDC argues that PrEP can help fill a critical gap in HIV prevention efforts, but those at risk need to have access to it.

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

“Providers must work with patients to assess which tools best meet their needs. PrEP can benefit many who have high risk. Other risk reduction strategies, such as condoms and access to sterile injection equipment, also offer substantial protection when used consistently and correctly,” said Dr. Eugene McCray, director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention,” he said.

© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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