In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers in the University of Florida College of Pharmacy used a commercial insurance database to examine the trends in the prescribing of preexposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for HIV prevention in the U.S. PrEP is recommended for use by individuals at risk of acquiring HIV, but few of those at risk receive it. Identifying trends and gaps in PrEP care can provide much needed guidance for focusing efforts to increase access to PrEP for appropriate candidates to ultimately curtail the spread of HIV.
Haesuk Park, Ph.D., an associate professor of the department of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, and Hyun Jin Song, M.Pharm., Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the department, led the investigation. Their study found that the annual number of persons prescribed PrEP in a sample of national medical claims from U.S. employer — provided health insurance increased from 821 in 2012 to 29,799 in 2018. Primary care physicians prescribed 79% of the PrEP prescriptions and infectious disease physicians prescribed 7%. Of physicians who prescribed PrEP, 42% were physicians who had also cared for a person diagnosed with HIV, and they prescribed 64% of PrEP, with 53% of the PrEP prescriptions being prescribed by primary care physicians with a history of caring for persons with HIV. Park said that public health efforts such as clinician education on identifying appropriate candidates for PrEP are needed to increase access to PrEP.