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 lay the foundation to scale up proven interventions, such as PrEP and SSPs, to address communities’ unique needs. CDC is continuing to invest in priority areas to help local HIV programs recover, rebuild, and begin to expand HIV prevention innovations spurred by COVID-19.

Over 70% of EHE-funded jurisdictions will start or expand programs to connect people to PrEP services and establish or expand SSPs, where legally permissible, using innovative delivery options such as mobile testing units and peer-delivery systems.

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 in the U.S. (EHE), state and local communities (in partnership with CDC and other federal agencies) employ innovative strategies, such as telePrEP and same-day PrEP delivery, to increase access to and use of PrEP. These efforts focus on 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:

  • Recently added flexibility to EHE funding requirements that allows communities to provide services related to PrEP using EHE funds. CDC is continuing to look for ways to expand access to these services through ongoing coordination with HHS agencies and HIV-focused administration leadership.
  • Supports Ready. Set. PrEP., the U.S. Department of Health and Services program that provides PrEP medications available at no cost to individuals who qualify and lack prescription drug coverage.
  • 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.
  • Operates GetTested– A national STD, HIV, and hepatitis testing locator to find nearby free or low-cost testing.

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.  EHE jurisdictions are already working to expand these strategies, and it is critical to further increase access to these innovations as additional resources are available. 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: July 27, 2021