Last year at this time, we were embroiled in a debate over pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the practice of prescribing HIV meds to HIV-negative people before they've even been exposed to the virus. The idea behind PrEP is that a constant flow of antiretrovirals within a person's body would help protect the person against infection if he or she ever becomes exposed.
Although PrEP was approved for use in the U.S. in 2012, questions swirled over who should use it, how effective it truly was, how well people would adhere to the pills, and whether using PrEP would tacitly "encourage" people to have unsafe sex knowing they'd be protected from HIV.
We're now a full year into the PrEP era, and the sky hasn't fallen. PrEP has proven popular among a wide swath of people -- not just gay men, who many presumed would be the primary beneficiaries, but also women, many of whom live in the U.S. South, a region particularly hard-hit by today's HIV epidemic.
Many questions remain regarding this new strategy, but it's clearly shown itself to be a desirable option among motivated groups of people -- no doubt including HIV-negative women in mixed-status, heterosexual relationships who are looking to safely conceive a baby with their HIV-positive partners.
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