Dawn K. Smith
BOSTON — Blacks are the largest group in the United States with indications for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, researchers reported here.
The designation applies in terms of the overall U.S. population, as well as among men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexually active adults (HET). Although they disproportionately have indications for it, blacks are not the only population that are using PrEP in low numbers, researcher Dawn K. Smith, MD, MPH, of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, said at a CROI press conference.
“PrEP, as we know, is highly effective at preventing HIV, but we know that a small fraction of people in the United States who could benefit from it are currently taking it,” Smith said.
The researchers analyzed data on HIV diagnoses and risk group size estimates to calculate their own estimates of people with PrEP indications in each state. They also calculated estimates of the numbers of people with indications by risk group, race/ethnicity and sex. Smith and colleagues added up jurisdiction estimates to arrive at nationwide estimates.
They found that about 1.1 million people had PrEP indications in 2015. Of those, 500,340 (44%) were black, 303,230 (26.5%) were white and 282,260 (24.7%) were Latino. Of 813,970 MSM with indications — or 71% of the total — 38% were black, 29% white and 27% Latino, the researchers said.
Of 258,080 HET with PrEP indications, 64% were black, 18% Latino and 14% white. Of the same risk group, 68% were female and 32% male. It was only among the 72,510 people who inject drugs (PWID) that whites with indications surpassed blacks. In all, 39% of PWID with indications were white, 37% were black and 21% were Latino.
In light of studies showing that PrEP use is low among blacks, the findings mean that the group must be a priority for PrEP awareness and access, the researchers stressed.
“Our study makes it clear there is an urgent need to increase awareness of and access to PrEP, particularly among black and [Latino] populations,” Smith said. – by Joe Green
Smith DK, et al. Abstract 86. Presented at: Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections; March 4-7, 2018; Boston.
Disclosures: Smith reports no relevant financial disclosures.