Task Force Offers Guidance on PrEP for Individuals at High Risk of HIV

The Task Force notes in the draft recommendations that clinicians should screen everyone between the ages 15 to 65 years and all pregnant women for HIV.

Officials with the US Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) have posted draft recommendations on the prevention of and screening for HIV, noting, among other issues, that health care professionals offer preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to those at high risk of HIV.

“The evidence is clear: when taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV,” Task Force member Seth Landefeld, MD noted in a Task Force Bulletin on the recommendations. “To make a difference in the lives of people at high risk for HIV, clinicians need to identify patients who would benefit and offer them PrEP.”

High risk behaviors include having a sex partner who is living with HIV, having sex without a condom with a partner whose HIV status is unknown and who is at high risk for HIV, and sharing injection drug equipment. The recommendations urge health care providers to provide patients support in taking their PrEP, noting that when not taken properly, they are not as effective.

Further, the Task Force notes in the draft recommendations that clinicians should screen everyone between the ages 15 to 65 years and all pregnant women for HIV. Younger adolescents and older adults at increased risk for HIV should also be screened.

There are 2 ways a health care professional can test a person for HIV: a conventional blood test sent to the laboratory for analysis or a rapid test (finger prick or saliva swab) that provides results in less than 15 minutes.

The Task Force’s draft recommendation statements and draft evidence reviews have been posted for public comment on the Task Force Web site at www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org. Comments can be submitted from November 20, 2018 to December 26, 2018 at www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/tfcomment.htm.