LOS ANGELES — 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, MedicalXPress reports.
Led by Psychology Professor Phillip Hammack, the study 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,” Hammack said, according to MedicalXPress.
Researchers also found that most sexually active gay and bi 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, PLOS ONE reports.
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 bi 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).
Other key findings regarding PrEP use include:
• Visiting an LGBT health clinic and searching online for LGBT resources were associated with greater likelihood of PrEP use.
• 52 percent of young sexually active gay and bisexual men were familiar with PrEP as HIV prevention, compared with 79 percent of men aged 34-41.
• Bisexual and non-urban men were less familiar with PrEP compared with gay-identified and urban men.