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PrEP use rises with gay, bisexual men

Truvada pills

NEW YORK — NBC OUT reported on Thursday that 35% of gay and bisexual men are using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported only six percent were on PrEP in 2014, according to the news site. However, even with the increase, PrEP use is still low among gay and bi men of color.

From NBC OUT:

The study was presented Thursday in Seattle at the 2019 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, a major annual HIV/AIDS conference, and was based on more than 8,000 interviews in 20 American cities.

The data showed varying use among racial and ethnic groups. More than 40 percent of white gay and bisexual men at high risk of HIV used PrEP in 2017, while only 30 percent of their Latino counterparts and 26 percent of their African-American counterparts did so. The updated data highlights the fact that minorities access PrEP at lower rates than whites, despite being at higher risk of HIV infection.

The data also found high awareness of PrEP, which is also known by its brand name, Truvada, among all gay and bi men: Eighty-six percent of African-Americans know about it, as do 87 percent of Latinos and 95 percent of whites.

Even with the big increase, PrEP isn’t getting to everyone who needs it.

“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,” the CDC noted. NBC OUT noted that the cost of PrEP, $2,000 without insurance or benefit program, was limiting some access, along with a low rate of us with heterosexual people and IV drug users.

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