Prevent

Prevent

Prevent new HIV transmissions by using proven interventions, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and syringe services programs (SSPs)

The HIV epidemic affects all communities differently. Locally designed plans inform the scale up of proven interventions, such as PrEP and SSPs, to address communities’ unique needs.

PrEP

PrEP is a pill that reduces the risk of getting HIV when taken as prescribed. Fewer than 25%external icon of the approximately 1 million Americans who could benefit from PrEP are using this preventative medication. As part of Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE), state and local communities (in partnership with CDC and other federal agencies) employ strategies to increase access to and use of PrEP—especially among African American and Latino gay and bisexual men, African American women, and other populations disproportionately affected by HIV.

As part of its role in EHE, CDC:

  • Works with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to train healthcare providers on prescribing and managing PrEP (HRSA works to increase the availability of PrEP services in community health centers).
  • Works with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to conduct outreach among groups at highest risk to improve knowledge of PrEP availability and access methods.
  • Maintains clinical guidelines for prescribing PrEP and updates its PrEP Locator with public and private providers nationwide who offer PrEP.
  • Develops and delivers education campaigns to both the public and healthcare providers to combat the stigmas associated with PrEP use and HIV.

Comprehensive SSPs

Comprehensive SSPs have been shown to dramatically reduce HIV risk and can serve as an entry point for a range of services to help stop drug use, overdose deaths, and infectious diseases. Research shows that new users of SSPs are five times more likely to enter drug treatment and almost three times more likely to stop using drugs than people who don’t use SSPs.

Many communities threatened by the opioid epidemic and increasing injection drug use, however, lack the resources to establish effective SSPs. CDC works with SAMHSA to increase access to and use of comprehensive SSPs and with local communities to implement SSPs where they are needed and permitted by state and local laws.

CDC has issued guidance on how to deliver these critical HIV prevention services during clinical service disruptions. This includes offering guidance for providing PrEP when facility-based services and patient-clinician contact is limited, as well as interim guidance for SSP programs operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Innovations spurred by COVID-19, such as the expansion in self-testing and telemedicine, have the potential to achieve EHE goals during the pandemic and beyond. CDC will continue to offer guidance and share creative, community-based solutions in order to deliver prevention in new, more accessible ways.

Page last reviewed: May 10, 2021