Speed Reads


Medical task force says more people should be taking HIV prevention drug

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a recommendation on Tuesday in the pursuit of HIV prevention. Pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, has been proven effective in preventing people from getting HIV if it's taken regularly, and the task force is now suggesting that people who are at risk of being infected should have access to a daily pill to lower their likelihood of contracting the disease. The recommendation letter was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association alongside an editorial by two physicians involved in HIV research.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long recommended PrEP as "a powerful HIV prevention tool," less than 10 percent of at-risk individuals currently take it, NPR reports. People at high risk include men who have sex with other men, as well as people who inject drugs — and "black and Latino men who have sex with men" are among the people whose rate of getting PrEP is especially low, despite their risk, details the editorial.

While treatment for HIV has improved vastly since its discovery, little progress has been made in preventing new cases. One factor could be the cost of preventive medicine: PrEP can cost over $20,000 for a year's supply. Lack of awareness could be another — having unprotected sex with a partner who hasn't disclosed their HIV status presents a high risk as well.

Read more about PrEP and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's recommendation at NPR.