Some gay men don’t believe HIV is enough of a risk to warrent the use of PrEP

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Many gay, bisexual and queer men who are good candidates for a drug that prevents HIV don’t believe their risk of being infected with the virus is high enough to warrant the drug’s use, suggests a new study. The poor perception of HIV risk suggests people need to be educated about how to lower the chance of being infected, according to the researchers, who do HIV testing and other research in commercial sex venues in New York City.

“Our testers and counselors were always amazed that a lot of these guys underestimated their risk for HIV – anecdotally,” said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the study’s senior author and medical director of ambulatory HIV services at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “It seemed as if it would be an opportune time to ask the population where they were in accessing their own risk given that PrEP was recently approved,” he said. PrEP, which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a way for people who are at risk of HIV but not infected to prevent infection by taking a pill every day. The pill currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for PrEP is Truvada, which is manufactured by Gilead.

The risk of contracting HIV is up to 92 percent lower among people who take PrEP consistently, compared to those who don’t take the medicine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Continue reading on the Chicago Tribune Website.

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