The Urgency of Expanding Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for Global HIV Reduction

Douglas A. Feldman*

The Urgency of Expanding Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for Global HIV Reduction.

Globally, an estimated 76.1 million persons have become infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic, with 35
million having died from AIDS-related illnesses.

In spite of 19.1 billion dollars spent annually in low- and middle-income countries, with most of those funds going toward the provision of antiretroviral medications, only 56.9  percent of all HIV-infected persons are receiving these medications. MSM refers to same-sex sexual behavior, and include gay-identified, bisexual-identified, and straight-identified men who engage in sex with other men.

MSM, for example, who use condoms every time, or are in a mutually exclusive relationship based on trust and fidelity, or do not have anal sex, or do not have sex at all, are not at high risk for HIV infection. IDUs who never share needles with others and routinely engage in safer sex are also not at high risk.

In fact, that day has actually come. Today, and since 2012, there is such a pill, and most persons globally, including many health professionals, still do not know about it. While newer versions are currently in development, the most commercially available version is Truvada, generically referred to as pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is a combination antiretroviral drug. However, it is clear that getting millions of Africans and others to use PrEP on a daily basis will be costly and require new allocated funds.

Lymphadenopathy, for example, which does sometimes occur when used as a treatment for HIV positive persons, has not been observed among PrEP users. PEPFAR recognizes the need to rapidly scale-up the availability and acceptance of PrEP in Africa and elsewhere.

Anthropol Open J. 2018; 3(1): e1-e3. doi: 10.17140/ANTPOJ-3-e004