FDA approves new injectable PrEP option for HIV prevention, health experts say adherence is key
DELMARVA – “We have a prevention tool kit now and this is one of the tools in the tool kit,” said CAMP Rehoboth Executive Director David Mariner.
That tool is a new injectable PrEP option used to prevent those HIV-negative from contracting the virus, adding to the list of oral medications already in use.
“For some of the folks who are affected by HIV/AIDS in the current epidemic, taking a pill every day may not be as realistic or as easy as it sounds,” said Mariner.
According to the CDC, data shows that PrEP use continues growing with 25% of people who were recommended the drug being on it 2020 compared to only 3% in 2015. It’s a number I’m told will continue to grow due to the new advancement.
“And the studies that have been done show that the injections can work better and have even fewer HIV conversions,” said Physician Deputy Health Officer at Wicomico County Health Department’s Dr. James Cockey.
Although this may be an easier option for many, like any prevention method, health experts say adherence is the key to effectiveness. “If someone doesn’t return on schedule and get the follow up injections, they’ll have a steadily declining amount of the drug in their system,” said Dr. Cockey.
“It’s a situation where the virus tends to develop resistance to the drug so that drug won’t be of any use in the future.”
Despite this, advocates say now with another tool in the tool kit those at risk now have options. Options that can save their life. “I don’t look at it as one being better than the other, I just look at it as having more options and finding what’s right for you,” said Mariner.
Wicomico County Health Department says they don’t immediately plan to take on this approach but it will be in the works for the future. Experts say they expect uptake will be slow due to the complexity and proper training need.