2019 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections

March 7, 2019 – 2019 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infection

PrEP use has increased among gay and bisexual men at risk for HIV

Significant gaps remain, especially among African Americans and Latinos
More gay and bisexual men at high risk for HIV are using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), according to a new CDC study presented today at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. Between 2014 and 2017, the use of PrEP – a daily pill for HIV prevention – increased from 6 percent to 35 percent among gay and bisexual men at high risk for HIV. Awareness of PrEP also increased (60 percent to 90 percent) with a large majority of gay and bisexual men surveyed now aware of this powerful prevention tool.

Despite these increases however, PrEP use remains too low, especially among gay and bisexual men of color. The study, which analyzed data from more than 8,000 interviews in 20 U.S. cities, found that:

  • In 2017, a third (35 percent) of gay and bisexual men at risk for HIV in the study were using PrEP.
  • PrEP use among gay and bisexual men was lower among African American (26 percent) and Latino men (30 percent) than White men (42 percent). Similarly, although generally high, PrEP awareness was lower among African American (86 percent) and Latino men (87 percent) than White men (95 percent).

The study’s findings suggest that efforts to increase PrEP awareness and use among populations at risk is working, but it remains underutilized. Of the estimated one million Americans at substantial risk for HIV and who could benefit from PrEP, fewer than 10 percent are actually using this medication. CDC will play a critical role in Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America, an HHS-wide initiative that will work to reduce new infections by 75 percent in the next five years and by 90 percent in the next ten years.

Increased PrEP awareness, access, and use essential to ending the HIV epidemic in America

As part of the initiative to end the HIV epidemic, CDC will expand efforts to increase PrEP awareness, access, and use, particularly among those at highest risk for HIV infection. Current efforts include:

  • CDC funds state and local health departments and community-based organizations to ensure people at substantial risk for HIV are aware of PrEP.
  • To encourage and enable health care providers to integrate PrEP into clinical care, CDC has developed tools and resources such as the Prescribe HIV Prevention campaign.
  • CDC is developing new ways to connect gay and bisexual men of color and transgender people to PrEP through demonstration projects such as THRIVE, which is underway in seven U.S. cities.

Study information
Abstract: Changes in HIV PrEP Awareness and Use Among Men Who Have Sex with Men, 2014 vs. 2017
Presentation date/time: Thursday, March 7, 2019; 2:30-4:00 PST
Location: (Washington State Convention Center – Poster Hall 4 EF)
Presenter: Teresa Finlayson, CDC
For more information from CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, visit www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom.

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Page last reviewed: March 7, 2019