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Black gay and bisexual men adhere to PrEP HIV treatment, thus bridging the gap between this HIV vulnerable group and others. When enrolled in a community program promoting the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment, the majority of black gay and bisexual men were still on the HIV treatment one year later.
The study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that community programs helping this vulnerable group to overcome barriers in keeping to the PrEP treatment are a key opportunity.
The PrEP treatment requires that one anti-HIV pill is taken daily for an indefinite amount of time. This reduces all the risks associated with HIV and plays a crucial role in preventing the infection.
According to CDC officials, 70 percent of the 178 black gay and bisexual men followed throughout the study adhered to the PrEP treatment even after one year. The results were announced at the Conference on Retrovirus and Opportunistic Infections taking place in Boston this Wednesday.
According to the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, doctor Anthony Fauci, black gay and bisexual men have a low adherence rate for PrEP treatment. As such, he declared:
“I think it’s an important study because one the major stumbling blocks of PrEP is adherence. That is really unfortunate, because that’s the vulnerable group that can benefit most from PrEP”.
According to the CDC, provided that HIV diagnosis rates maintain the status-quo, one in two black and gay bisexual men stand HIV diagnosis in their lifetime. The rate is alarmingly high. For Latino gay and bisexual men, the rate is one in four men who are facing an HIV diagnosis. For white gay and bisexual men, the HIV diagnosis rate is one in eleven.
Against this background, the CDC study proved that black gay and bisexual men adhere to PrEP HIV treatment provided they are enrolled in community programs. Currently Gilead’s Truvada is the only drug approved for PrEP treatment. If the anti-HIV pill is taken regularly, HIV transmission is reduced by 90 percent.
PrEP treatment in addition to HIV treatment and improving testing rates could result in a 70 percent cut of the expected cases by 2020. The study was conducted by the HIV Prevention Trials Network.
Overall, 226 HIV-negative black gay and bisexual men were selected to participate in the study. All men were invited to participate in one community program titled client-centered care coordination (C4). As part of the C4 program, the men would receive PrEP treatment for 12 months. During the C4 program, all participants were invited to discuss their problems with counselors to improve their wellbeing as well as PrEP adherence.
178 participants acceded to PrEP adherence and 70 percent already presented protective levels of the treatment during analyses. Black gay and bisexual men adhere to PrEP HIV treatment provided they are given the chance to participate in enhanced awareness programs.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia