Injectable versions of HIV treatments and pre-exposure prophylaxis will be a game changer in terms of convenience over daily pills, noted Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health and director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies.
Injectable versions of HIV treatments and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) will be a game changer in terms of convenience over daily pills, explained Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health and director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies.
This video excerpt is part of our third entry in a series on individuals and international organizations working to bring local and global awareness to the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, which is marking its 40th anniversary this year. For previous videos with Dr Halkitis, please visit our main HIV page.
Have younger generations become complacent to the real consequences of HIV?
People were having sex without condoms forever; this is not new. Do I think they've become complacent? No. I think that undetectable equals untransmittable [U=U], with PrEP, provide us 2 more tools in the arsenal. Condoms and PrEP and U=U, those are all really effective tools. So do I think they have become complacent? No. I think we still have 40,000 new infections each year. I think that gay men, straight people continue to engage in sexual behaviors.
I think that the complacency doesn't arise when people are on treatment or on PrEP. I think that complacency arises when people trust and earn love. I have long said that lots of risk—and there is documented evidence for this—occurs within the context of a relationship. So I think what we need to do is teach young people to be able to learn how to navigate and manage the dynamics of their relationships to continue to stay safe, to have open conversations with their partners so they don't place themselves at risk.
A colleague said, “Well, somebody’s single, they should be on PrEP.” I think when somebody starts a relationship, they should be on PrEP, because I think the minute you enter “I love you” into the equation, all rational decision-making goes out the door.
I think the other advantage we have is that it looks like in the next 5 years, I hope maybe sooner, we will have an injectable version of PrEP that's available, we'll have an injectable version of treatment which is available, and that will just make people's lives much easier than having to take pills every single day. And I think that's a game changer for us.