Australian men who have sex with men are apparently using antiretroviral medications incorrectly, according to a presentation at the 2013 International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment, and Prevention.
The recommended usage of antiretrovirals known as PrEP (that's pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV) is every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, an online survey reported in Healio has shown that Australians didn't get the memo.
Out of the 685 men in the study, 27 reported that they had used anti-HIV meds and, of those, 18 men only used it once. How the daily medication was taken is the biggest shocker: A full 85% said they've taken PrEP only after sex and after they thought they'd been exposed to HIV (instead of before exposure, as is neccessary for the medication to work). Atiny fraction of men used PrEP both before and after sex.
“Such poor understanding of PrEP poses significant issues not only for HIV prevention, but also for the monitoring of PrEP use and adherence to PrEP,” researchers said in the report. “Refining the measures of PEP [post-exposure prophylaxis] and PrEP use may be largely futile without first providing education and information about PrEP-based prevention methods in the community.”