June 26, 2018

PrEP for teenagers – what doctors say

A study suggests most physicians would be willing to prescribe PrEP to teens, but the doctors themselves need to be educated on its use. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily antiretroviral pill, can lower the risk of getting HIV from sex by up to 90%, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reuters reports on a study that surveyed 162 U.S. doctors who worked with adolescents and young adults. While 93% of the clinicians had heard of PrEP, only 35% had prescribed it.

In the survey, more than half of the respondents said they had only treated a few teens and young adults with HIV. Just 15% of the clinicians reported treating many HIV-positive youth.

The results suggest that some providers may still need to be educated about PrEP and made aware that it’s now approved for use in teens, said Matthew Beymer, a researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine, and at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

“I think the take-home message is that PrEP works well whether you are an adolescent (and over 77 pounds) or an adult provided you take your medication every day,” Beymer, who wasn’t involved in the study, said.  “Teens should consider taking PrEP if they either have an indication for PrEP or feel that taking PrEP would reduce their concerns about contracting HIV.”