CDC cites PrEP as a “key prevention strategy” in their plan to reduce HIV prevalence, but overlooks the critical role condoms play in preventing both HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases.
LOS ANGELES (February 24, 2016) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization currently serving over 590,000 patients around the world, reports deep skepticism regarding a new HIV prevention study released earlier today. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unveiled a new forecasting study that projects the potential impact of its national HIV prevention strategies. Presented at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016), the model advocates for HIV testing and treatment as well as “rapidly” increased access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in order to prevent as many as 185,000 HIV infections by the year 2020.
While the study champions increased PrEP coverage as one of its “key prevention strategies,” it makes no mention of a critical method of curbing new infections: condoms. “Condoms not only protect individuals against HIV, but also a host of other STDs such as HPV, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “An HIV prevention plan that does not place condom use at its forefront is both irresponsible and potentially disastrous.”
A 2014 study from Kaiser Permanente revealed that the use of PrEP resulted in a 45% increase in condomless sex among certain study participants, leaving them vulnerable to disease. Participants in clinical trials for PrEP also did not always adhere to the medication, which significantly reduced its efficacy in preventing HIV. In order to attain its 2020 targets and protect those at risk for HIV, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) encourages the CDC to emphasize safer sex practices and exercise caution in its broad-based recommendation of PrEP.