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What Are Some of the Challenges Involved With Taking PrEP?

W. David Hardy, MD, discusses the challenges health care providers encounter when it comes to patients taking PrEP.

Segment Description: W. David Hardy, MD, adjunct professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Disease at Johns Hopkins University, explains the challenges that come with taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

Interview transcript (modified slightly for readability):

Contagion®: What are some of the challenges involved with taking PrEP?

W. David Hardy, MD: In terms of challenges for people taking PrEP, the biggest one really falls on the patient after the access question has been answered and the patient has a continuous supply of medication. Trying to get people who are well to do something such as a medical intervention like take a pill every day is not so easy. These individuals who take PrEP of course are well and they're young and they're usually sexually active and they’ve got a lot of stuff going on in their lives, so one of the biggest challenges is really getting someone to remember to take that pill every day. It's not unlike asking women who are sexually active who don't want to become pregnant to take a birth control pill every day, but this is something that I think is going to have some new important changes in the not too distant future to make it easier. Because setting an alarm, putting it by your toothbrush, all these little things we've been telling patients to do for years with their HIV medications have not been transferred to persons taking PrEP.

It works some of the time but most of the studies have shown that adherence with PrEP medications is anywhere between 45 to around 75%. It's not great, and so trying to find ways that would be easier for taking PrEP are really needed.