Since PrEP is one of the newer HIV prevention tools, understanding more about who is using it is important to better tailoring HIV prevention efforts at the national, state, and community levels. PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is when people at high risk for HIV take HIV medicine daily to lower their chances of getting infected with HIV. AIDSVu has released the first-ever publicly available data and interactive maps of PrEP use by state from 2012 through 2016, stratified by sex and age.
The new maps from AIDSVu show more than 77,000 people were prescribed PrEP in 2016, with an average 73 percent increase year over year in persons using PrEP across the U.S. from 2012 -- when the drug TDF/FTC was approved by the FDA for use as PrEP -- to 2016. However, approximately 1.1 million people in the U.S. are at substantial risk for HIV exposure and could benefit from PrEP, according to analysis presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at CROI 2018 earlier this year.
The data presented on AIDSVu reveal that the growth and distribution of PrEP use has been inconsistent across different sexes, age groups, and geographic regions. For example, the Southern U.S. accounted for more than half (52 percent) of all new HIV diagnoses in 2016 but represented only 30 percent of all PrEP users in 2016. That same year, women comprised 19 percent of all new HIV diagnoses but made up only seven percent of all PrEP users.
"PrEP is a revolution in HIV prevention and has the potential to dramatically reduce new HIV infections; however, significant disparities in the use of PrEP exist across the country," said Patrick Sullivan, Ph.D., Professor of Epidemiology at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health and Principal Scientist for AIDSVu. "Expanding access to PrEP is a core component of Getting to Zero campaigns in cities and states across the country and is one of four key focus areas in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. We hope that the newly available data on AIDSVu will allow health departments, elected officials, medical professionals, and community leaders to better understand and visualize the realities of who has access to this important prevention tool so they can develop programs and policies to decrease barriers."
AIDSVu.org offers interactive online maps illustrating HIV-related data from the United States. The national, state, and local map views on AIDSVu allow users to visually explore the HIV epidemic alongside critical resources such as HIV testing center locations, HIV treatment center locations, and NIH-Funded HIV Prevention and Vaccine Trials Sites. AIDSVu is presented by Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health in partnership with Gilead Sciences, Inc., and the Center for AIDS Research at Emory University (CFAR).
AIDSVu's goal is to make HIV-related data widely available, easily accessible, and locally relevant to inform public health decision making. According to an announcement, the mapping of state-level data on PrEP use continues AIDSVu's commitment to providing public health officials, policy makers, researchers, and community leaders with a more comprehensive understanding of the HIV epidemic at the local-, state-, and national-levels. The data displayed on AIDSVu underestimate the total number of PrEP users in the U.S. as there is currently no single data source that includes data on all unique users. Learn more about the data source.
Read more about the new PrEP maps and explore them.
[Note from TheBodyPRO: This article was originally published by HIV.gov on May 7, 2018. We have cross-posted it with their permission.]