The U.S. Public Health Service recommends doctors evaluate their male and female patients who are sexually active and at high risk of contracting human immunodeficiency virus or who are injecting illicit drugs, and consider offering Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention as a prevention option.
The federal guidelines recommend PrEP be considered for those who are HIV-negative, but at substantial risk for HIV, such as a person who is in an ongoing relationship with an HIV-positive partner, or heterosexual people who do not regularly use condoms during sex with partners of unknown HIV status.
The guidelines also include anyone who is not in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who recently tested HIV-negative and is a gay or bisexual man who has had anal sex without a condom or been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease in the past six months.
When taken consistently, PrEP reduced the risk of HIV infection for high-risk people by up to 92 percent.
PrEP contains the two medications tenofovir and emtricitabine that are used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. It is marketed as Truvada in a single pill. When someone is exposed to HIV via sex or injection drug use, the daily mediation keeps the virus from establishing a permanent infection.
However, PrEP is only for people with an ongoing substantial risk of HIV infection. Those who need to prevent HIV after a single high-risk event such as unprotected sex, needle-sharing, injection drug use or sexual assault, postexposure prophylaxis, or PEP, is recommended within 72 hours of exposure, the CDC said.