For the first time, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, or USPSTF, has recommended that clinicians offer pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, to patients at high risk for HIV infection.
According to the CDC, PrEP can reduce the risk for HIV in high-risk patients by up to 92% when taken consistently. Recent findings showed that a rapid, targeted rollout of the medication in Australia led to a 25% decline in new HIV diagnoses in just 1 year among men who have sex with men.
PrEP has been approved for HIV prevention in the United States since 2012, and guidelines for its use have been in place since 2014. In a news release, the USFSTF said the benefits of PrEP “far outweigh the harms, which can include kidney problems and nausea.”
It was the first time the group reviewed the issue.
“The evidence is clear: when taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV,” USPSTF member C. Seth Landefeld, MD, said in a statement. “To make a difference in the lives of people at high risk for HIV, clinicians need to identify patients who would benefit and offer them PrEP.”
The USPSTF also recommended HIV screening for all patients aged 15 to 65 years, all pregnant women and younger adolescents and older adults at increased risk for infection.
The HIV screening and PrEP recommendations were given “A” grades, indicating the USPSTF believes there is a high certainty the recommended practices will have substantial benefits. The group will accept public comments on the recommendations through Dec. 26.
Disclosures: Landefeld reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the USPSTF website for all other task force members’ relevant financial disclosures.