More than a third of sexually active gay and bisexual men used PrEP in 2017, according to data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 6 percent in 2014.
But it’s still far short of where health officials want to see use, according to NBC News.
The data was a part of many important news developments announced at the 2019 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.
But CDC officials say the increased usage, while a good sign, remains uneven.
“PrEP use remains too low, especially among gay and bisexual men of color,” the CDC reports.
The statistics come from 8,000 surveys conducted in 20 American cities.
The data found about 40 percent of white gay and bisexual men engaging in sex with men use PrEP while just 30 percent of Latino men in that category use it and only 26 percent of black men in that demographic take the regimen.
But awareness of the product has become high. Some 85 percent of black gay and bi men know of PrEP or Truvada, along with 86 percent of Latino, and 95 percent of white gay and bi men.
High cost for medication and insurance woes appear to keep use lower than health officials would like.
But it remains to be seen whether new pill regimens, like a non-daily PrEP schedule for low-risk patients now being embraced by San Francisco officials, will increase or broaden use. Clinical trials also continue on the potential use of Descovy as a form of PrEP; Truvada remains the only approved form right now.
While use of PrEP among gay and bisexual men has increased, use among other at-risk populations remains low. A press memo says of the 1 million Americans at “substantial risk” for HIV, fewer than 10 percent use PrEP. Among intravenous drug users and heterosexuals, there has been a low uptake, officials said.