PrEP Use Is On The Rise In the US... Except For One State
PrEP is becoming more and more accessible here in the United States of America, but one state is lagging behind the rest.
An expansion of ADISVu, an interactive map that tracks HIV prevalence, new diagnoses, and mortality, has revealed that the state of Georgia is getting left behind by the rest of America.
New data was released on ADISVu and shows a 880 percent increase in PrEP since 2012 with 73 percent increasing each year.
Patrick Sullivan, the head scientist for AIDSVu and a professor at Emory University, commented on the numbers by saying they’re impressive.
"This is so important because PrEP really is a key part in prevention campaigns. For the first time, there are numbers available state by state to give us a sense of how things are going with PrEP across the country," Sullivan added.
Unfortunately, however, Georgia is not doing as well as the rest of the country.
Georgia is ranked fifth in the list of US states with the highest number new of HIV diagnoses.
"Georgia routinely ranks in the top of new HIV diagnoses. Certainly, we'd like to see Georgia have one of the highest rates of PrEP uptake given that it has one of the highest numbers of new diagnoses. There is a lot of opportunity for an increase in PrEP use given Georgia's epidemic," Sullivan said.
On top of that, Georgia is not alone. Most Southern states have the highest number of new HIV diagnoses and the lowest proportional use of PrEP.
Because of that, researchers like Sullivan and some politicians are working to find a solution.
In January, Representative Park Cannon, one of the four openly gay lawmakers in Georgia’s House of Reps, introduced House Bill 755. If passed, that bill would create medical services and PrEP accessibility for people at high risk of HIV contraction. Unfortunately, the bill has stalled on the House floor.
That said, Sullivan appreciates the effort.
"When health departments are engaged in those states, when they have health department web pages talk about their programs for PrEP, those are areas we look to. Those are certainly state that are above the averages in their regions – for sure," Sullivan said.