The guidelines, issued by the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Public Health Service,
involve the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, a strategy in
which at-risk individuals take a daily dose of an antiretroviral
drug to reduce their risk of HIV infection.
The strategy builds on a landmark 2010 study that found Gilead
Sciences Inc's Truvada - a pill already widely used to treat the
human immunodeficiency virus - was more than 90 percent effective at
preventing HIV infections among test subjects who took the drug as
According to the new guidelines, healthcare providers should
consider PrEP for anyone who meets specific risk criteria, such as
being in a relationship with an HIV-infected partner or having sex
without condoms with partners known to be at risk for HIV, such as
injecting drug users.
The guidelines offer the first comprehensive guidance from the CDC,
replacing interim guidance that emerged after studies showed PrEP to
be effective in different patient populations.
The CDC now estimates as many as 275,000 uninfected gay men and
140,000 heterosexual couples, in which one partner is HIV-infected,
could benefit from PrEP.
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Some 1.2 million people in the United States live with HIV, and new
infections are estimated at 50,000 each year.
(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Tom Brown)
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