The new guidelines aim to help cut the almost 40,000 new HIV infections in the USA each year.
"It will dramatically encourage PrEP use and will help force price reductions that are a major current barrier to this essential HIV prevention tool", Volberding, coauthor of an editorial accompanying the recommendations in JAMA, said by email.
People who face the highest risk of HIV include gay and bisexual men who have sex with men (MSM), for whom 67 percent of all HIV diagnoses in 2016 occurred, and transgender people, who are diagnosed with HIV at three times the national average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"There are highly effective preventive interventions that can help us toward the goal of ending the HIV epidemic in the USA", said Owens, who is also an investigator at VA Palo Alto Health Care System "However, we know not enough people receive these interventions".
Anyone at risk for HIV - including people with HIV-positive partners, people who have unprotected sex with at-risk individuals, and people who inject illegal drugs - should take the daily pill, called Truvada, to prevent the virus, according to recommendations issued today by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The Affordable Care Act mandated commercial plans to cover a certain set of preventative services, including those that get an A or B from the task force.
"The USPSTF concludes that with high certainty that the magnitude of benefit of PrEP with oral tenofovir disoproxil fumarate-based therapy to reduce the risk of acquisition of HIV infection in persons at high risk is substantial", the recommendation reads on the USPSTF website. About 1 million could take PrEP, but only 90,000 prescriptions were filled in 2015, according to the CDC.
In a statement issued by W. David Hardy, MD, chair of the HIV Medicine Association, the recommendation is referenced as a critical milestone for improving accessibility to PrEP and working towards ending the HIV epidemic.
"Newer options for PrEP, including new drug formulations, generic medications, long-acting implants and injectable formulations of antiretroviral medications, that are quickly coming down the pipeline, also will be critical to realizing the full benefits of PrEP". USPSTF also recommended screening for adolescents and adults aged 15 to 65 years for HIV infection, as well as screening for younger adolescents and older adults who are at an increased risk, the article reported. In fact, only people who test negative on a recent HIV test are allowed to take it.
"In the setting of PrEP we aim for HIV testing every 3 months", Volberding said. "And all infants born to HIV-infected moms should be screened as well".