Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use among gay and bisexual men has risen over 500% since 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In its July 12 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC reports that, as of 2017, 35% of men who have sex with men in the U.S. who fit the current criteria for PrEP were taking it, up from 6% in 2014. Despite the massive surge in PrEP usage in only three years, the CDC claims that use of the regimen is still low among black and Latino queer men.
Most gay and bisexual men know what PrEP is, according to the MMWR. PrEP awareness rose more than 50% from 2014 to 2017, with more than 80% of queer men of all racial and ethnic backgrounds being aware of what it is.
The CDC projects that at current rates, PrEP use nationwide will probably prevent one in three new HIV infections over the next 10-year period. And, of course, more people adopting PrEP use could stem the tide even further. The CDC noted that increased PrEP usage is fundamental to hitting the Trump administration's goal of a 90% reduction in new infections within 10 years as part of its "Ending the HIV Epidemic" plan.
Finding and implementing strategies to improve PrEP use among black and Latino queer men would produce a much better effect on ending the epidemic, given that the U.S. epidemic is concentrated in black and brown communities. The government agency identified one possible barrier between people and PrEP: a lack of rapport with their doctors. The CDC recommends that doctors take routine sexual histories of all their patients, although some research shows this may be challenging for young gay black men who are not comfortable disclosing their sex lives to white doctors that they don't have an established relationship with.
And, while the CDC only recommends daily PrEP, some jurisdictions, including New York and San Francisco, have rolled out guidance for "on-demand" or event-based PrEP. The CDC also recommends that health care providers test their patients for HIV routinely and speak about PrEP as a prevention option if patients test negative.