New York, NY — AVAC today welcomed the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on the use of the antiretroviral drug emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF/FTC or Truvada) as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among sexually active heterosexual men and women.
“These guidelines are another essential building block as we look at the ways PrEP can be used as an effective prevention option for men and women,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC. “For the US, CDC guidance is a crucial step in a long process of ensuring that TDF/FTC as PrEP is made available to those who need it. Together with CDC’s initial guidance on PrEP use among gay and bisexual men, released in early 2011, these guidelines will help ensure that that individuals and health care providers have the information they need to make informed decisions about PrEP use.”
“We know that daily oral PrEP using TDF/FTC is not a magic bullet. It provides partial protection and is not a replacement for other prevention strategies like the male and female condom. It will not be right for everyone. As the CDC guidance notes, use of PrEP requires adherence, a confirmed HIV-negative diagnosis and ongoing monitoring. But for some people, some of the time, oral PrEP with TFD/FTC will be a powerful prevention option.”
“We also need real-world projects now to answer important questions about how best to implement PrEP, especially among those most at risk of HIV infection, including many women and young gay men. It is essential that a range of PrEP demonstration projects be fully funded and implemented as quickly as possible.”
PrEP demonstration projects will tell us who can benefit most; how to provide PrEP safely and efficiently; how to integrate PrEP with other essential prevention methods such as condoms; and how to ensure high levels of adherence, which research has shown to be essential for PrEP to work. Currently, only a limited number of demonstration projects are planned or underway in the United States and even fewer globally.
“With more than 50,000 new HIV infections in the US each year and millions of new infections globally, we clearly need new ways to prevent HIV infections,” Warren added. “PrEP is an important option for some people here in the US and around the world. We must all work together to ensure that PrEP is integrated into HIV prevention programs in communities where it can prevent infections and save lives.”
About AVAC: Founded in 1995, AVAC is a non-profit organization that uses education, policy analysis, advocacy and a network of global collaborations to accelerate the ethical development and global delivery of AIDS vaccines, male circumcision, microbicides, PrEP and other emerging HIV prevention options as part of a comprehensive response to the pandemic.