NEW YORK — PrEP usage remains woefully underused around the world health workers say according to the Associated Press.
Marketed in the United States as Truvada and sometimes available abroad in generic versions, the pill has been shown to reduce the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90 percent if taken daily. Yet worldwide, only about a dozen countries have aggressive, government-backed programs to promote the pill.
In the U.S., there are problems related to Truvada’s cost, lingering skepticism among some doctors and low usage rates among black gay and bi men who have the highest rates of HIV infection.
A few large U.S. cities are promoting Truvada, often with sexually charged ads. In New York, “Bare It All” was among the slogans urging gay men to consult their doctors. The Los Angeles LGBT Center — using what it called “raw, real language” — launched a campaign to increase use among young Latino and black gay men and transgender women, the AP reports.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Truvada would be appropriate for about 1.2 million people in the U.S. — including sex workers and roughly 25 percent of gay men. Gilead Scientific, Truvada’s California-based manufacturer, says there are only about 145,000 active prescriptions for HIV prevention use, the AP reports.