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PrEP works. Investment in more options must continue, and faster, smarter rollout must be a top priority.

Clinical trials have shown that different types of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) using antiretroviral (ARV) drugs dramatically reduce the risk of HIV infection for people who take it as directed. While PrEP won’t be right for every individual at risk for HIV, millions will benefit—if they can access this potentially life-saving option.

So far, PrEP’s implementation has been piecemeal. Meanwhile the landscape is changing as more options move through research, regulatory review or enter the market, intensifying the need to improve implementation.

TDF/FTC (brand name Truvada) was first approved for use as oral PrEP in 2012, now dozens of countries have approved it, but PrEP still has not reached many of the people who need it most. In 2019, F/TAF (brand name Descovy) became the 2nd oral PrEP product to be approved, but only for men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women. Efficacy studies of F/TAF among cisgender women are ongoing. Findings reported in 2020 show injectable cabotegravir is safe and effective and the product is undergoing regulatory review. For more information go to our dedicated pages on cabotegravir on and PrEPWatch.

For all these interventions and other ARVs still in the R&D pipeline, advocacy is crucial: There must be continued investment in the development of additional options, community engagement must be integrated from trial design to implementation, and improved programming must support those who need HIV prevention options the most.

Key Update

On December 20, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Apretude, or extended-release cabotegravir, as the first long-acting injectable option for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Apretude, which is administered by a health care worker every other month, is indicated for adults and adolescents weighing at least 77 pounds to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV.

December 20, 2021
What We're Reading

Many people view PrEP as enhancing their sexual pleasure and intimacy, according to a new analysis. Despite many healthcare providers prescribing PrEP to people because of “risky behaviour,” Christine Curely and colleagues at the University of Connecticut say that more messaging around its potential to augment sexual pleasure could decrease stigma and improve uptake and adherence.

March 11, 2022

If the new long-acting injectable HIV prevention drug Apretude (cabotegravir/rilpivirine) increases overall pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use by 25 percent, it could lower the rate of new diagnoses among men who have sex with men by up to half by 2030, according to data presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections 2022 (CROI 2022)

February 18, 2022
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