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New Guidelines Recommend Daily HIV Prevention Pill for Those at Substantial Risk

May 14, 2014

Today, CDC and the U.S. Public Health Service released new clinical guidelines recommending that health care providers consider pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for patients at substantial risk for HIV infection. The strategy of providing daily oral antiretroviral drugs to uninfected individuals prior to HIV exposure, known as PrEP, has been shown to reduce HIV acquisition.

The new guidelines, developed by CDC in partnership with other federal health agencies, public health experts and community leaders, recommend that providers consider PrEP as a prevention option for any patients who meet specified risk criteria. They also underscore the importance of counseling that covers adherence and HIV risk reduction and recommend regular monitoring of HIV status, side effects and toxicities, and risk behaviors.

More specifically, the guidelines recommend PrEP for HIV-uninfected patients with any of the following indications:


For sexually active people, since no prevention strategy is 100% effective, the guidelines also recommend that physicians encourage patients to use PrEP with other proven prevention strategies, such as condoms, to provide even greater protection than when used alone.

On July 16, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the combination medication tenofovir disoproxil fumarate plus emtricitabine (TDF/FTC) for use as PrEP among adults at risk for sexually acquired HIV infection.

Over the past several years, CDC has issued interim guidance as trial results in various populations have become available. These new guidelines are the first to offer detailed and comprehensive clinical guidance on PrEP for both sexual and injecting drug use, and replace the interim guidance. They also include a providers' supplement with additional materials and tools for clinicians who prescribe PrEP.

Today's guidelines are an important step forward in the fight against HIV as it provides physicians with key information useful to effectively deliver this powerful, new prevention tool. With 2.7 million new infections estimated to occur each year worldwide, and approximately 50,000 in the United States, safe and effective new approaches to prevent HIV are urgently needed to reduce the toll of the disease.

PrEP has the potential to alter the course of the US epidemic, if targeted to populations in need and used as directed. In fact, CDC estimates that as many as 275,000 uninfected gay men and 140,000 discordant heterosexual couples could potentially benefit from this intervention.

Ultimately the role of PrEP in preventing new HIV infections will depend on: its acceptability to users; how effectively it is delivered by health care providers, including support for patients to achieve high medication adherence and to prevent increases in risk behavior; and access to the drug by those at substantial risk of HIV.

CDC is leading a variety of efforts to support PrEP uptake and address these critical issues for delivery in community settings. We are collaborating with the CDC Foundation to launch an implementation pilot program to identify the practical requirements, costs and impact of PrEP delivery in clinical care settings. We continue to provide ongoing support to state and local health departments on the delivery of PrEP in their jurisdictions and are engaged in prevention education efforts to increase awareness of PrEP among clinicians and consumers alike.

Other organizations are also implementing PrEP demonstration projects and research studies in community settings to help determine how PrEP can most effectively be used in the United States.

Yet, in order to realize the promise of PrEP for HIV prevention in the US, we must work collectively to expand uptake and address practical implementation issues. Many groups have critical roles to play:

The new guidelines were posted today on CDC's website. To view the guidelines and provider supplement or learn more about PrEP implementation in the United States, visit

CDC will also present Public Health Grand Rounds on PrEP for Prevention of HIV on Tuesday, May 20 at 1:00 p.m. EDT.

CDC is grateful to its federal and public health partners as well as those health care providers and community leaders who provided input into the development of these guidelines.

This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

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