What is the rationale for use of preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) against HIV infection?

Updated: Oct 08, 2019
  • Author: Alejandro Delgado, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Antiretroviral therapy (ART) for primary prevention of HIV is gaining enthusiasm because most biological and behavioral preventive strategies have failed to decrease HIV acquisition. Moreover, an effective preventive vaccine remains years away. Sexual transmission of HIV is strongly correlated with concentration of HIV in the blood and in genital secretions. Growing observational and modeling data suggest that antiretrovirals (ARVs) can be used to decrease infectivity of patients with chronic HIV, presumably by decreasing plasma and genital tract HIV concentrations, and also to protect at-risk uninfected individuals. [7] With the ever-expanding formulary and increased tolerability and availability of drugs, optimism is growing regarding ART preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) being an effective method for primary prevention for individuals with ongoing risks for becoming infected with HIV.

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