Most gay and bisexual men of all racial and ethnic groups are now aware of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV, but Black and Latino men are less likely than white men to have discussed PrEP with a health care provider and to have used it within the past year, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As described in the September 20 edition of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), an analysis of data from 23 cities showed that 42% of white men who have sex with men (MSM) reported taking PrEP within the past year, compared with 30% of Latino men and 26% of Black men.
“To expand PrEP use, interventions to increase PrEP awareness, encourage health care providers to discuss PrEP, destigmatize PrEP use and promote racial/ethnic equity in PrEP access are needed,” the study authors concluded.
The Food and Drug Administration approved daily Truvada (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine) for HIV prevention in 2012. Since then, the number of people using PrEP has risen steadily but unevenly across population groups.
CDC researchers previously reported that in 2015, over 1.1 million people in the United States were at substantial risk of acquiring HIV but only 8% of all eligible individuals were using PrEP, falling to just 3% among Latinos and 1% among African-Americans—the group with the highest rate of new diagnoses. However, these figures included at-risk heterosexual men and women, who are less likely to know about PrEP than gay and bi men.
In the July 12 MMWR, CDC researchers reported that nine out of 10 gay and bi men are aware of PrEP and over a third of those at risk were using it in 2017, up from just 6% five years ago. However, they found that while there were increases in all groups, Black and Latino men were less likely to know about PrEP and less likely to use it than white men.
Read more on POZ.com.