The Trump administration hopes to eradicate HIV by 2030 by requiring all homosexual men and injection drug users take a daily PrEP pill.
New guidelines issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend people who are at high risk of HIV infection take a daily PrEP pill. PrEP is an acronym for Pre-exposure prophylaxis, a class of antiviral drugs that protects people who have not yet been exposed to the HIV virus that causes AIDS.
PrEP must be taken daily by people who are at risk for HIV but do not yet have the infection.
About 1.2 million people are eligible for PrEP, but only about 100,000 people take the medication daily.
The new recommendations, published on Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), were issued after President Donald Trump launched a campaign to eradicate HIV in the United States by 2030.
The guidelines suggest men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexuals who have one homosexual or bisexual partner should take a daily PrEP pill.
Black women are 20 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than white women. Women who aren't sure if they are involved with homosexual men are advised to take PrEP daily.
The pill can't prevent HIV infection in those who are already infected. But it can prevent transmission of HIV to others.
Injection drug users should take the daily pill to prevent HIV infection.
When a person is infected with the HIV virus, the virus invades human immune cells to make copies of itself. The HIV virus load increases in the body as more immune cells are killed off to make copies of the HIV virus. The load is eventually high enough to be detected with HIV blood tests.
When the immune system is compromised by the overwhelming viral load, the infected person cannot fight off simple infections such as the common cold. The person falls ill with an opportunistic infection and they are diagnosed with AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). In the 1980s, an AIDS diagnosis was an automatic death sentence.
The death rate has plummeted since the peak of the AIDS in the 1980s, thanks to antiviral drugs such as PrEP. Although HIV is treatable, viral infections have no cure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once.
Those who are at risk for HIV - men who have sex with men’ Black women who may be involved with a homosexual man; and IV drug abusers - should be tested as often as once a year or more, according to the CDC.
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