Black AIDS Institute Applauds FDA Approval Of PrEP

PrEP Pill bottle

PrEP – Antiretroviral Pre-exposure Prophylaxis

The Black AIDS Institute recently announced its support of the FDA’s decision to approve use of the antiretroviral drug Truvada as an option for HIV prevention.

Gilead Sciences, maker of Truvada, based its application on results of two placebo-controlled trials-iPrEx in men who have sex with men and Partners PrEP in HIV-discordant heterosexual African couples.

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“The FDA got it right this time,” says Phill Wilson, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. “PrEP is very helpful in interrupting the acquisition of HIV by gay men who have sex with men. And for the most vulnerable population to HIV infection on the planet-Black gay and bisexual men-this approval is not a moment too soon. The issue now is to make sure gay and bisexual men, and especially young black gay and bisexual men know what PrEP is, what it is not, how to use it, and if appropriate, how to access it.”

At the forefront of AIDS advocacy mobilization in Black communities, the Black AIDS Institute has supported the approval of this biomedical prevention option. But Wilson, who serves on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), stresses the need for access to the drug through better medical care for those who are impacted the most – in this case, black men who have sex with men. In addition to medical access, Wilson said that black men who have sex with men must remain vigilant in using condoms and communicating about HIV status with their partners-PrEP is most effective when used as part of a combination of prevention techniques.

Among the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy are reducing the number of people infected by HIV and increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes for people with HIV. There are about 50,000 new HIV infections each year in the United States, disproportionately among Black men and women. Officials from the FDA warned that high-risk individuals using Truvada should continue to practice safe sex, in particular by using condoms.