Let's Get Real About PrEP
While the number of new HIV diagnoses fell by almost 20% between 2005 and 2014, there were still 40,000 new cases diagnosed in the US in 2015, the most recent year for which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported data. Although routine HIV testing is recommended for all people ages 13-64, 13% of HIV-infected people are unaware of their status, and late diagnosis remains common with nearly a quarter diagnosed with advanced disease.
HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a is a once-daily prescription medicine, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2012, that can help HIV-negative individuals reduce the risk of getting HIV when it is taken every day and used together with safer sex practices. PrEP is endorsed by the CDC as a science-driven public health approach to what remains a major health crisis in the US. Used along with other preventive strategies, PrEP has the potential to help individuals at risk for HIV infection to protect themselves and, ultimately, to reduce HIV incidence. However, implementation of PrEP has been relatively slow to date and faces numerous and multifactorial barriers. A key barrier is a lack of front-line primary care providers who are willing and able to identify patients who are at risk for HIV and provide PrEP services to these patients.
Let's Get Real About PrEP is provided under the auspices of Albert Einstein College of Medicine and NovaMed Education Inc. with program contribution from HealthHIV. This program is supported by an educational grant from Gilead Sciences. It includes a multi-component gap/needs assessment, a PrEP resource toolbox, and an interactive online educational program with components for healthcare providers (CME-certified), community outreach workers, and patients. The program is designed to introduce each audience to the basics of PrEP, to assess knowledge and attitudes about HIV prevention and PrEP, and to identify barriers to the optimal, evidence-based use of PrEP as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy.