Only 4 percent of sexually active gay and bisexual men in the United States use Truvada, a highly effective medication used to prevent the transmission of HIV, according to the results of a first-of-its-kind study.Led by Psychology Professor Phillip Hammack, the study, “HIV Testing and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Use, Familiarity, and Attitudes among Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States: A National Probability Sample of Three Birth Cohorts” was published Sept. 7 in the journal PLOS ONE.
Truvada is a once-a-day prescription medication used to reduce the risk of HIV infection; it is the only FDA-approved form of pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, which is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for those at high risk of HIV/AIDS.
“The extremely low rate of PrEP use, while not surprising given barriers to access in various parts of the country, is disappointing,” said Hammack.
Researchers also found that most sexually active gay and bisexual men aged 18-25 are not tested for HIV annually, as recommended by the CDC, and 25 percent of young men have never been tested.
“I worry especially about younger men who didn’t grow up with the concerns of HIV that men of older generations did,” said Hammack. “The low rate of HIV testing probably reflects a degree of complacency and cultural amnesia about AIDS.”
Conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, the study is the first to report on estimates of HIV testing and use of PrEP among gay and bisexual men using a national probability sample in the United States. In the study, researchers examined gay and bisexual men in three age groups: young (18-25), middle (34-41) and older (52-59).
“Our findings suggest that health education efforts are not adequately reaching sizable groups of men at risk for HIV infection,” said principal investigator Ilan H. Meyer, Distinguished Senior Public Policy …