The world’s leading health institution has announced new guidelines aimed to curb the continued rise of HIV infection around the world. The organization’s decision to back HIV prevention drugs lends more support to a medicine that is misrepresented by some.
The World Health Organization (WHO) worries that the number of HIV infections around the world continue to rise and member of what it considers at-risk groups remain vulnerable to infection. According to a press release from the organization, these at-risk groups are defined as “men who have sex with men, people in prison, sex workers, users of intravenous drugs and transgender people.”
Many of these people, the statement explains, are ignored from national plans around the world aimed at reducing HIV infection or are victims of discrimination. In an attempt to reduce the numbers of infections, WHO has endorsed the use of HIV prevention drugs like Truvada for those with high risk of infection, particularly gay men.
Rates of consistent HIV testing and condom use remain low throughout the globe, and “for the first time, WHO strongly recommends men who have sex with men consider taking antiretroviral medicines as an additional method of preventing HIV infection (pre-exposure prophylaxis or ‘PrEP’) alongside the use of condoms,” the statement reads.
HIV infection rates among gay men remain high and that, if this new initiative is followed, the organization estimates a drop of 20-25 percent in infections among gay men over the next 10 years.
WHO is not the only organization to support the use of HIV prevention drugs. The CDC approved the use of Truvada earlier this year and some gay health organizations approve of it, among them the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC).