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The potential uses of preexposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention among people who inject drugs

Baral, Stefan D.a,b; Strömdahl, Susannea,b; Beyrer, Chrisa

Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS: November 2012 - Volume 7 - Issue 6 - p 563–568
doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e328358e49e

Purpose of review Oral preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has shown HIV preventive efficacy for several key populations at risk for HIV infection including MSM and heterosexual men and women in HIV serodiscordant relationships. An efficacy trial of daily oral tenofovir among people who inject drugs (IDU) is underway in Thailand.

Recent findings Although efficacy data is pending, there is emerging biological and public health plausibility data suggesting the utility of PrEP as an effective component of combination HIV prevention for IDU. Drawing from studies characterizing adherence to antiretroviral therapy for IDU, there are a range of scientific and operational considerations for the potential use of PrEP for IDU. We review here the available literature on the potential use of PrEP for IDU, barriers to uptake and adherence, and potential implementation science questions, which could address, and potently increase, the effectiveness of this intervention.

Summary IDU remain the most underserved population in the HIV response worldwide, and have a marked gap in prevention services, making PrEP a potentially promising addition to the prevention toolkit for people who use drugs and, for those already living with HIV infection, for their spouses and other sexual partners.

aCenter for Public Health and Human Rights, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

bDivision of Global Health (IHCAR), Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Correspondence to Stefan Baral, MD, MPH, MBA, CCFP, FRCPC, Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, E7146, 615N, Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA. Tel: +1 410 502 8975; fax: +1 410 614 8371; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.