Integrating HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Into Routine Preventive Health Care to Avoid Exacerbating Disparities
More than 3 decades since its emergence in the United States, HIV continues to spread and disproportionately affect socially marginalized groups.
Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a highly effective prevention strategy federally approved since 2012, could fundamentally alter the course of the epidemic. However, PrEP’s potential has not been fully realized, in part because health care providers have been slow to adopt PrEP in clinical practice and have been selective in their discussion of PrEP with patients. This nonstandardized approach has constrained PrEP access. PrEP access has not only been inadequate but also inequitable, with several groups in high need showing lower rates of uptake than do their socially privileged counterparts.
Recognizing these early warning signs that current approaches to PrEP implementation could exacerbate existing HIV disparities, we call on health professionals to integrate PrEP into routine preventive health care for adult patients-particularly in primary care, reproductive health, and behavioral health settings. Drawing on the empirical literature, we present 4 arguments for why doing so would improve access and access equity, and we conclude that the benefits clearly outweigh the challenges.