12 July 2019 Blog Post: PrEP (a daily pill to prevent HIV infection termed pre-exposure prophylaxis)

In most cases a report showing that the use of a particular medication has soared 500% would not be good news. However, in the case of PrEP (a daily pill to prevent HIV infection termed pre-exposure prophylaxis) this is welcome finding. More than a third of people at risk of HIV infection are now protected with the medication, which is more than 90% effective, according to a CDC report published today.

Some of my patients may already know that my interest in medicine first germinated in the early 1990s when I spent the better part of a year working at the Fenway Community Health Center in Boston while an undergraduate. There I worked on two HIV/AIDS studies and never imagined a time when there would be a effective treatment, much less a mechanism that could end HIV.

By routinely testing patients for HIV, assessing HIV-negative patients for risk behaviors, and prescribing PrEP as needed, health care providers can play a critical role in ending the HIV epidemic. Dr. Kenneth Mayer (who oversaw the studies I had the good fortune to work on while at Fenway) has been a tremendous advocate for PrEP. His article in JAMA in 2018 (linked below) highlights this 90% efficacy.

My patients who take PrEP already know (since I tell them) that it is “my favorite medication to prescribe.”

𝗦𝗶𝗴𝗻 𝗨𝗽 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗢𝘂𝗿 𝗡𝗲𝘄𝘀𝗹𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿

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