PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), a new method for HIV Prevention

PrEP is short for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. It is a new HIV prevention method in which people who do not have HIV take a daily pill to reduce their risk of becoming infected. When used consistently, PrEP has been shown to be effective in men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexually-active men and women. A CDC study is also underway to evaluate whether PrEP is safe and effective in reducing the risk of HIV infection through injection drug use, but those results are not yet available.

Based on studies to date, in July 2012 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the combination medication tenofovir disoproxil fumarate plus emtricitabine (TDF/FTC) for use as PrEP among sexually active adults at risk for HIV infection.

For some individuals at high risk for HIV infection, PrEP may represent a much-needed additional prevention method, but it will not be right for everyone and is not intended to be used in isolation, but rather in combination with other methods to reduce the risk of getting HIV infection. If it is delivered effectively and targeted to those at highest risk, PrEP may play a role in helping to reduce the significant continuing toll of new HIV infections in the United States. CDC is currently working with partners to ensure safe and effective PrEP use and begin to address key questions about acceptability, access, adherence, behavioral risks, and patient outcomes in community settings.

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