Pre-exposure prophylaxis use expands, but not fast enough

17 January 2022

It has been more than a decade since the first evidence of the efficacy of daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was published. PrEP is now a valuable additional option for people who are at higher risk of acquiring HIV, and its global uptake has continued to increase, despite the COVID-19 pandemic: country data show that approximately 845 000 people in at least 54 countries received PrEP in 2020—a 43% increase since 2019, and a 182% increase since 2018.

Much of the PrEP scale-up is still highly concentrated in a fairly small number of countries, notably the United States of America, and in eastern and southern Africa, where Kenya and South Africa accounted for 158 630 (19%) of people who received PrEP at least once during 2020 in the region.

There continue to be substantial gaps in the availability of PrEP, however: the total number of people using this prevention option in 2020 was just 28% of the target of 3 million in low- and middle-income countries, which represents only 8% of the new global 2025 target.