New CDC Recommendations: Boost PrEP Prescriptions, Education Efforts

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday December 11, 2021
Originally published on December 10, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s updated guidelines encourage PrEP education and more prescriptions, as well as "updated testing recommendations," to combat HIV transmission, according to text at government website HIV.gov.

PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a pharmaceutical regimen for HIV-negative people that has been shown to be effective in preventing transmission of the virus that causes AIDS. PrEP, in combination with early testing and effective treatment for those living with HIV, is seen as key in reducing and perhaps eventually eradicating HIV.

HIV-positive people receiving effective treatment that reduces their viral load to undetectable levels cannot pass the virus to others through sexual activity. This is known as U=U ("Undetectable = Untransmissable").


The Dec. 8 hiv.gov post noted the publication that same day of the CDC's newly-revised Clinical Practice Guideline for Preexposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention and Clinical Providers Supplement.

"The updated guideline and supplement reflect the latest science and are intended to help physicians effectively prescribe all FDA-approved pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications to patients and increase PrEP use among all people who could benefit," hiv.gov noted.

Among other changes, the revised guidelines now encourage "providers to inform all sexually active adults and adolescents about PrEP," as well as recommending that "providers prescribe PrEP to anyone who requests it, even if they do not report specific HIV risk behaviors."

Along with those recommendations — as well as encouraging the prescription of specific treatment regimens to particular demographics, such as trans women and "sexually active men" — the new guidelines promote new "HIV testing recommendations that incorporate the latest and most effective methods for quickly detecting HIV infection among people using any PrEP medication."

Noting that "PrEP is one of the most powerful tools we have to prevent HIV transmission," hiv.gov emphasized that expanded "access to PrEP will be critical to ending the HIV epidemic in the United States."

The site also pointed out that the CDC funds programs designed to foster "community-based outreach to people who could benefit most including gay and bisexual men of color, people in the South, Black women, transgender women, and persons who inject drugs," as well as to promote "education campaigns that increase awareness and combat stigma associated with PrEP use."

Text at hiv.gov detailed that among the resources the CDC offers is its "PrEP Locator, which has information on public and private providers who offer PrEP."

The government's ongoing efforts aim to reduce HIV transmission by 90%, building on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), which originated in 2010. Since then, the NHAS and other aspects of the fight against HIV transmission have been <;link|https://www.edgemedianetwork.com/story.php?ch=News&sc=AIDS&sc2=&id=187546&white_house_launches_updated_national_hiv_aids_strategy_|revised and updated> over the years, as new resources (such as the Affordable Care Act) and new technological advances have come into play.

Other programs supporting NHAS have also been introduced, including the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative, which was launched in 2019. The EHE takes a locality-based approach, providing resources in a targeted approach to curtail the spread of the virus.

"By fine-tuning the approach of the 4 EHE strategies (diagnose, treat, prevent, respond) and taking action based on the data, local health department officials can adjust local programs to prevent and mitigate future HIV transmissions," hiv.gov explained in an earlier post.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.