From January – June 2020, PrEP and PEP use for HIV prevention declined in New York State for the first time since the ETE Dashboard began tracking them, likely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall, 32,630 individuals in New York State filled at least one PrEP prescription during the first half of 2020, a slight drop from the previous 6 months, in which 33,439 individuals filled a PrEP prescription. Decreases occurred among males and females; younger age groups (ages 13-29); and white, Asian or Pacific Islander, and Hispanic New Yorkers, both statewide and in New York City only.
Similar trends can be seen in PEP utilization. In January – June 2020, 1,634 Medicaid recipients filled at least 1 prescription for PEP compared to 1,761 Medicaid recipients from July – December 2019. Similar to PrEP usage, decreases in PEP also occurred among males and females; younger age groups (specifically ages 13-29); and white, Asian or Pacific Islander, and Hispanic New Yorkers, both statewide and in New York City only.
Data from this six-month period give users the first glimpse into PrEP and PEP usage early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on PrEP and PEP use in New York State will become more clear when PrEP and PEP use data for all of 2020 is released later this year.
“These trends, while not unexpected given the circumstances of the pandemic, are nonetheless concerning”, said Dr. Denis Nash, a professor of Epidemiology and the Executive Director of CUNY’s Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health. “PrEP and PEP are critical components of New York’s HIV prevention safety net. A decrease in access or usage of PEP and PrEP could translate into new HIV infections that would have otherwise been averted.”
The ETE Dashboard will continue to report on core metrics as the data become available.