Today is World AIDS Day

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What is PrEP?

PrEP is short for Pre Exposure Prophylaxis and may be part of comprehensive HIV prevention services in which HIV-negative people who are at high risk, take antiretroviral medication daily to try to lower their chances of becoming infected with HIV if they are exposed to it.

To date, PrEP has been shown to be effective in men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexual men and women.

In November 2010, the NIH announced the results of the iPrEx clinical trial, a large, multi-country research study examining PrEP. The study found that daily oral use of tenofovir plus emtricitabine (TDF/FTC single tablet) provided an average of 44% additional protection to men who have sex with men (MSM) who also received a comprehensive package of prevention services that included monthly HIV testing, condom provision, and management of other sexually transmitted infections.

In July 2011, a new CDC study called the TDF2 study, along with a separate trial by the University of Washington, provided evidence that a daily oral dose of antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV infection can reduce HIV acquisition among uninfected individuals exposed to the virus through heterosexual sex.

CDC has developed interim guidance for physicians electing to provide PrEP for HIV prevention among MSM. Because pregnant and breastfeeding women were excluded from participation in PrEP trials, further evaluation of available data will be needed before any recommendations can be made regarding the use of PrEP for women during conception, pregnancy, or breastfeeding.

Oral pre-exposure HIV prophylaxis may be an effective therapy to decrease HIV transmission in HIV discordant couples who choose to conceive naturally.