World Health Organization Endorses PrEP For Men Having Sex With Men

For the first time ever the World Health Organization has thrown its support behind the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) by men who have sex with men (MSM) as an effective means of reducing the risk of contracting HIV.

WHOLogo“Modelling estimates that, globally, 20-25% reductions in HIV incidence among men who have sex with men could be achieved through pre-exposure prophylaxis,” The Organization said in a press release. “[This could avert] up to 1 million new infections among this group over 10 years.”

The WHO identified five “key populations” it believes are, collectively, the linchpin to curtailing the spread of HIV globally. MSM, people in prison, people who inject drugs, sex workers, and transgender people are in need of better access to more comprehensive health care measures, such as PrEP and more rapid HIV testing, according to the WHO:

“None of these people live in isolation,” says Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, Director of the HIV Department at WHO. “Sex workers and their clients have husbands, wives and partners. Some inject drugs. Many have children. Failure to provide services to the people who are at greatest risk of HIV jeopardizes further progress against the global epidemic and threatens the health and wellbeing of individuals, their families and the broader community.”

Read through the WHO’s new Consolidated Guidelines of HIV Prevention here  AFTER THE JUMP

UPDATE: WHO sent out a clarification of its announcement:

WHO is aware of incorrect headlines and reporting linked to its recent recommendations on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV.

WHO is not recommending that all men who have sex with men must take PrEP, but supporting it as an additional choice (see paragraph 5 of the WHO news release

For the first time, WHO strongly recommends men who have sex with men consider taking antiretroviral medicines as an additional method of preventing HIV infection (pre-exposure prophylaxis) alongside the use of condoms.



  1. TampaZeke says

    Big Pharma endorses Prep for all men who have sex with men! And 5 or 10 years from now we’ll be seeing the attorney ads on TV for the victims of all of the side effects.

  2. The Milkman says

    I took Truvada once, as post-exposure prophylaxis. The diarrhea was debilitating. And that was just for a few weeks… with the side effect profile and the exorbitant cost, one wonders how effective this push to get ER’BODY on board with Prep will be.

  3. Matt27 says

    I am not familiar with this, so as stupid as this may be, I need to ask, what about condoms? Is it still okay to use condoms? And what about safer sex?

  4. Marlon Manroe says

    Umm… no thanks. I like my liver. Once it’s gone, that’s it. I also like not having all of the other STD’s that Truvada doesn’t protect a person from.

  5. jjose712 says

    Sorry but i find this quite disturbing. The fact you are having sex with men doesn’t mean you are promiscuous or having sex without protection.

    A lot of straight men have sex with prostitutes, it’s not straights are inmune to the virus.

    Medicate for the sake of it it’s absurd. I understand that for sex workers or porno stars, even for men who have sex with multiple partners but or al men who have sex with men is quite insulting

  6. Pandion says

    WRONG! I have sex with men, but not anal sex, ergo I’m not at risk of HIV infection, and I don’t need any d@mn pill. Thanks.
    Recommend this very wholesome lifestyle to MASM (Men who have Anal Sex with Men) only.

  7. ATLJason says

    I’m sorry that some of you apparently can’t tolerate Truvada but let’s keep the side-effect hysteria in check. I’m 40 and have been taking Truvada (not as PrEP, I’m HIV+) since it came on the market. My liver is fine and it has never given me diarrhea. For many people, the PrEP benefits would far outweigh any potential side effects.

  8. BGKev says

    Sooo…it was allegedly nearly 100% effective in trials, and yet putting EVERYBODY on it would only reduce infections 25%? Is this because compliance would be horrendous, or because the benefit drops off rapidly with even a few missed doses?

  9. Muscular says

    Condoms are mostly but not fully effective. Much of the ineffectiveness is because people don’t use condoms 100 percent of the time. Also people may use the wrong kind of lube with condoms. Truvada is claimed by big pharma and its supporters in the funded non-profit world to make up the difference between the limitations of condoms and when people don’t use them. What is not spoken about are the side effects and the stress on the liver from long-term use of Truvada.

    Most of the safe sex advice boils down to the notion that gay men never enjoy anal sex. What often isn’t considered is that males have prostates that are stimulated with anal sex. Both the top and bottom enjoy physiological stimulation. Also, many gay men feel bonded and personally connected to their partner when their bodies are either penetrated or penetrate another man.

  10. Ha! says

    Couple problems here.
    1. Not all men are promiscuous.
    2. We all have short memories.
    3. All this does is promote stupid risky behavior.
    4. We are creatures of free will, if you want to take this,
    It should be your personal choice.

  11. petey says

    The World Health Organization is putting gay men’s lives at risk. It is spreading misleading and homophobic propaganda about male homosexuality which plays into the hands of homophobic governments.

    Rumor has it that some of those who sit on the board of the World Health Organization are actual employees of the drugs firms that will profit from the sale of these ghastly drugs whose side effects include possibly cancers.

  12. Hugh says

    Any of you have any alternatives other than bitching? It’s just an endorsement for PrEP and more importantly advocating for better access to HIV treatments and testing.
    If you’re not promiscuous then good for you, but you can’t deny gay men as a whole are a high risk demographic for HIV.

    No matter what the WHO says, they’re never going to curtail the fact that half of men on Grindr bareback, but what they can do is mobilize an effort for better health care access.

    Stop taking it as such a personal attack, you’re part of a high risk population, deal with it.

  13. Claude says

    Currently, Africa, men are encouraged to be circumcised, the argument being that it protects against AIDS. On the one hand, it allows to Islamist propaganda saying that God protected since circumcision was prescribed by Muhammad. On the other hand, men believe they are immune from the removal of this piece of skin, no longer use condoms. Result, the contamination continues unabated.

  14. JT says

    Well put HUGH. As best I can tell, this is just a poorly worded headline on Towleroad. The WHO is NOT recommending that ALL men who have sex with men use PrEP. This is an endorsement of PrEP as an option and I say hooray!

    “Summary of WHO recommendations concerning key populations

    1.The correct and consistent use of condoms with
    condom-compatible lubricants
    is recommended for all key populations to prevent sexual transmission of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

    2. Among men who have sex with men,
    pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
    is recommended as an additional HIV prevention choice within a comprehensive HIV prevention package. NEW RECOMMENDATION

    3. Where serodiscordant couples can be identified and where additional HIV prevention choices for them are needed, daily oral
    (specifically tenofovir or the combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine) may be considered as a possible additional intervention for the uninfected partner.”

  15. ragincajun says

    I think a disturbing takeaway from this is it seems that if one considers them self not promiscuous then they are somehow immune or excluded from being a part of a high risk group. The fact remains that, in many parts of the world, MSM have a higher percentage of the population living with HIV and that the sexual acts in question carry with it a higher chance of transmission of the virus. Demonizing another method of decreasing the likelihood of transmission does not help the community. Condoms alone are not 100% effective, and there are still many people living with HIV who do not know their status. Whether you have sex with one man a year or 100, you are at a greater risk versus the national average. Why not take some time, fully educate yourself, talk with your health care provider and make a decision based on facts if this medication is right for you instead of just jumping to a conclusion and deciding that this is somehow wrong and insulting to everyone even when it can and will help save lives.

  16. Jay says

    The World Health Organization doesn’t care about your overall health and for them it is probably worth it to use you as a lab rat in order to reduce HIV transmissions. Take your PrEP lab rats, be good rats.

  17. Pookie says

    PrEP is useful, if you don’t have an adverse reaction to it, your insurance will cover it, and you need an extra level of protection because for whatever reason you’re having sex with people who’s status they and you do not know and/or you don’t always use a condom.

    Just how useful and effective is PrEP going to be I have to wonder. It’s probably not going to work great on people who have serious drug/alcohol issues who have a lot of sex with strangers, I’d hardly expect them to not miss their doses.

    And people who are just plain promiscuous and reckless might avoid HIV, but lets be honest, HIV is not the only STD those people are exposed to much less the only health problem they have.

    I don’t see condoms promoted like they were just 10 years ago, why is that ? It seems to me that public health agencies and all the non-profits are really dropping the ball.

    It no secret how HIV is spread. IV drug abuse, sex with strangers, not taking care of yourself, not taking precautions.

    There needs to be more focus on HIV prevention in general.

    If you’re with somebody and they don’t automatically go looking for the rubbers, and you still hang with them – well, what can I say. You have to live with your mistakes. It’s sad, but lets be realistic, taking care of yourself is your responsibility.

    Avoiding HIV and STD’s in general, it’s not rocket science. We should be educating people, not making constant excuses for their bad choices.

  18. Jay says

    If the WHO wanted to really help fight HIV, it would find a way to lower the price of at home HIV tests kits like Oraquick. If Oraquick was cheaper more people would use it to prevent transmission of the virus.

  19. andy says

    Some people are so dead set on making gay sex like it was in the 70s that they’ll ignore all common sense and just take whatever big pharma shoves down their throat. You can lose the condoms and bring back the cruise spots and bathhouses but you’ll just get the 80s to follow. Either a drug resistant strain will become rampant from so many people being medicated or something else altogether. We already know drug resistant gonorrhea and syphilis are skyrocketing because of these bb enthusiasts .

  20. Derek says

    Um Andy please try and pull your head out of your ass because the increase in resistant strains of ghonnarhea is due to the OVER PRESCRIBING of antibiotics and the very nature of the bacteria NOTHING else. It has nothing to do with anyone barebacking as much as you want it to be so. You are misinformed, wrong and also a judemental d!ck.

  21. ratbastard says

    I suppose if you are a ‘sex worker’ it’s ok (although ‘sex workers’ more often than not already have substance abuse problems and compromised immune systems), but it’s certainly a ridiculous suggestion for the average gay or bi male. All these pharmaceuticals reek havoc on the human body through long term use. Some are so toxic, it only takes a few times to cause perm. damage. The best thing you can do is try and maintain a reasonably healthy lifestyle, eat a healthy diet, keep your immune system healthy. And use condoms. Get regular check ups, at least once a year.

  22. ratbastard says

    Of course they’re using people as lab rats, experimenting with drugs and dosages, and they calculate a certain percentage will die from adverse effects, etc. We are statistics to the industry and profession. HIV+ people were wrongly strongly advised to take high doses if AZT and other highly toxic drugs into the 1990s even though people were dropping like flies from the treatment. It took the professionals, industry, and government years before they relented and admitted their mistake, greatly lowering the dosage. Many died during this tome, quickly and painfully, the worse for taking high doses of AZT and other drugs.

  23. Bill says

    @Derek : one of the causes of drug resistant gonorrhea is the failure to use the full amount prescribed. The result is a few bacteria – the ones most drug resistant – survive, and when those grow back, the cycle repeats generating ones that are even more drug resistant.

    Another cause is the overuse of antibiotics for livestock – bacteria can sometimes share their drug resistance by a mechanism called horizontal gene transfer.

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