Taking a daily pill to reduce HIV risk -- better known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP -- remains one of the most exciting biomedical prevention strategies on the horizon. Daily use of some antiretrovirals has shown up to 73% efficacy in preventing HIV transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM). San Francisco will soon become the first city in the nation to offer PrEP to MSM.
PrEP's potential efficacy among women has been less clear, but this year we finally saw promising study results for heterosexual couples.
Still, PrEP is a polarizing topic. Depending upon whom you ask, it's often described as either a "magic bullet" or an unrealistic, "boutique" intervention. And questions abound, such as: Who will pay for it? And what are the health consequences of placing HIV-negative people on HIV medications they don't really need?