Nashville CARES Endorses CDC HIV PrEP Guidelines
Thursday, May 15, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville CARES joined a group of 67 other leading HIV/AIDS and health organizations today to reiterate their strong support for oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as an important HIV prevention strategy for men and women at risk of HIV infection. The diverse group of advocates, researchers and service providers hailed new HIV PrEP guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a science-driven, public health approach to what remains a major health crisis in the United States.
“For some time now, Nashville CARES has been advocating that PrEP is an important part of the HIV prevention toolbox,” said Joseph Interrante, CEO of Nashville CARES. “PrEP, used along with other prevention strategies, has the potential to help at-risk individuals protect themselves and ultimately reduce new HIV infections.”
The guidelines come almost two years after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the oral drug Truvada (TDF/FTC) for HIV prevention following an extensive review of data from multiple, multinational clinical trials of PrEP among men and women with different risks for HIV infection. In the time since FDA approval, the CDC has reviewed additional data and sought input from a range of experts and community members to develop these new guidelines.
The guidelines provide critical information to help healthcare providers and patients evaluate the suitability of oral PrEP as an HIV prevention option and ensure that those who choose PrEP have the support – including ongoing monitoring, counseling, adherence support and frequent HIV and STD testing – necessary for PrEP to be effective.
The argument that widespread use of PrEP will be accompanied by “a shift to condomless sex” is not based on evidence. In fact, initial studies suggest the opposite. The current scientific evidence also indicates that PrEP, when taken daily as directed, can reduce the risk of HIV infection by more than 90 percent.
The CDC PrEP guidelines underscore that PrEP is not for everyone. Neither CDC nor any of the endorsing organizations, including Nashville CARES, are advocating for indiscriminate use of PrEP. Neither is anyone suggesting that oral PrEP is a replacement for condoms; rather it is an additional option from which individuals should be able to choose.
“PrEP and condoms are complementary interventions to the prevention of HIV,” said Interrante.
PrEP has the potential to help many individuals in the US and around the world protect themselves from HIV. Failure to strategically, effectively and responsibly implement this scientifically sound strategy as part of comprehensive prevention and treatment programs in our fight against HIV would be a true catastrophe.
“Nashville CARES supports the CDC guidelines,” added Interrante. “And, more importantly, we support the right of informed adults to choose the most appropriate mix of HIV prevention options for their lives as part of a truly comprehensive approach to testing, treatment, care and prevention.”
About Nashville CARES:
Nashville CARES offers services annually to more than 60,000 Middle Tennesseans infected and affected by HIV/AIDS including: HIV prevention education to over 44,000 youth and adults, 13,000 FREE confidential HIV tests, and support services to 2,500 men, women and children living with the disease. For information about Nashville CARES, visit www.NashvilleCARES.org and “like” us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/NashCARES.