Most High-Risk Men Don’t Take PrEP to Prevent H.I.V.

Among men who are at high risk for H.I.V. infection, only about one in three is taking a drug to prevent transmission of the virus, according to a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The drug, Truvada, is taken daily as part of a preventive strategy called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

For the report, published in MMWR, C.D.C. researchers studied 7,873 high-risk men from 20 American cities who were negative for H.I.V. and completed a behavioral survey in 2014 or 2017. Those considered at high risk either had a partner who was H.I.V. positive or had at least two male sex partners in the past year, and they reported having anal sex without a condom or a sexually transmitted infection — syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia — in the past year.

Among the men in the survey, PrEP use rose steeply from 2014 to 2017, from 6 percent to 35 percent. But PrEP use varied by race, with 42 percent of high-risk white men taking the drug, 30 percent of Hispanic men and 26 percent of black men.

Other reports have found lower rates of PrEP use, with about 270,000 of the estimated one million Americans at high risk taking the drug.

In February, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a plan to end the H.I.V. epidemic in the United States, with use of PrEP a cornerstone of the initiative.

“Higher coverage is needed, especially among black and Hispanic men who have sex with men, to end the H.I.V. epidemic in the United States by 2030,” the researchers concluded.

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