December 8, 2015 – HIV Challenges
Anchor lead: While there’s much to celebrate this Worlds AIDS Day, challenges remain, Elizabeth Tracey reports
World AIDS Day 2015 gave many a reason to feel hopeful, since effective medicines to both contain and prevent transmission of the virus do exist and are being utilized. But we can’t rest on our laurels yet, says Joseph Cofrancesco, an HIV expert at Johns Hopkins.
Cofrancesco: The bad news is that these meds are not necessarily available across the world, and there are still many resource-challenged countries that are struggling to get the drugs into people. There’s also a challenge in that not all physicians are aware that pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, is so highly effective, and there are patients perhaps embarrassed to ask for it, that it’s underutilized. And of course the one pill combination is somewhat expensive. So that I think is the challenge and the downside. :30
Recent CDC data indicate that about one-third of primary health care providers nationwide don’t know about PrEP and how to use it, so more education for both providers and patients is clearly needed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.