Background: The effect of improving diagnosis, care, and treatment of persons living with HIV (PLWH) on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) effectiveness in the United States has not been well established.
Methods: We used a dynamic, compartmental model that simulates the sexually active US population. We investigated the change in cumulative HIV incidence from 2016 to 2020 for 3 HIV care-continuum levels and the marginal benefit of PrEP compared with each. We also explored the marginal benefit of PrEP for individual risk groups, and as PrEP adherence, coverage and dropout rates varied.
Results: Delivering PrEP in 2016 to persons at high risk of acquiring HIV resulted in an 18.1% reduction in new HIV infections from 2016 to 2020 under current care-continuum levels. Achieving HIV national goals of 90% of PLWH with diagnosed infection, 85% of newly diagnosed PLWH linked to care at diagnosis, and 80% of diagnosed PLWH virally suppressed reduced cumulative incidence by 34.4%. Delivery of PrEP in addition to this scenario resulted in a marginal benefit of 11.1% additional infections prevented. When national goals were reached, PrEP prevented an additional 15.2% cases among men who have sex with men, 3.9% among heterosexuals, and 3.8% among persons who inject drugs.
Conclusions: The marginal benefit of PrEP was larger when current HIV-care-continuum percentages were maintained but continued to be substantial even when national care goals were met. The high-risk men who have sex with men population was the chief beneficiary of PrEP.