Young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (YMSM), particularly black and Latino YMSM, are at highest risk for HIV in California and across the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that if current rates persist, half of all black—and a quarter of all Latino—gay and bisexual men could be infected with HIV in their lifetimes. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a highly effective HIV prevention intervention that could drastically reduce the number of new HIV infections among YMSM. PrEP uses a well-established antiretroviral medication, Truvada, to block HIV infection in at-risk HIV-negative individuals. When taken as prescribed, Truvada is proven to be over 90 percent effective at preventing HIV. Recent studies have shown PrEP awareness and uptake to be low among at-risk populations in California and across the United States for a number of reasons including concerns about side effects, perceived high cost, limited access, and PrEP-related stigma. If barriers to PrEP use among YMSM are not addressed, the benefits of this HIV prevention strategy will not be fully realized.
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