Perspectives on PrEP in African-American Communities
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) demonstration projects are starting up or already underway in U.S. cities, with the goal of seeing how best to use this new prevention tool in “real-world” settings outside of carefully controlled clinical trials. Will people want to take a pill a day to avoid HIV infection? Will they be able to take the pill daily as directed? These are just a couple of the pressing questions the demonstration projects will address. (To learn more, visit www.PrEPfacts.org.)
On RHRealityCheck.org, a site dedicated to education about sexual and reproductive health and rights, Dani McClain explores issues and perspectives on PrEP in African-American communities. Read her eye-opening article, excerpted below and available in full at RHRealityCheck.org, for perspectives from HIV test counselors, peer educators, community members, and advocates.
By Dani McClain
November 30, 2012
This summer, the Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada—long used as a life-saving drug for people living with HIV—for use among adults with a negative status who are at high risk for contracting the virus.
The science and public health communities have heralded the drug’s use as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) as a potential godsend for certain groups, particularly young black men who have sex with men (MSM), who are experiencing a rise in HIV infections. Between 2006 and 2009, new HIV infections increased by nearly 50 percent among black MSM between the ages of 13 and 29.
But in the months since the FDA’s approval, some who work on prevention efforts in Black and low-income communities have urged PrEP proponents to pump their brakes. Interviews with advocates, service providers, policy experts, HIV testers, and people living with the virus reveal a range of perspectives. Some committed to fighting the spread of HIV are excited about the pill’s new availability as a prevention tool. Others worry about how it’s being rolled out in communities where distrust of medical systems runs high. There’s also a concern that the pill will be seen as a silver bullet that makes condoms and other safer sex practices unnecessary….