Patient-Focused Selection of PrEP Medication for Individuals at Risk of HIV: A Narrative Review

Sheldon D. Fields, Elyse Tung

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication is a key component of the HIV prevention strategy in the US, which has been demonstrated to be highly effective in preventing HIV acquisition among individuals at risk. Two PrEP medications are currently approved: emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Truvada®; F/TDF) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2012, followed by emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide (Descovy®; F/TAF) in 2019. An ongoing randomized, double-blind, Phase 3 study (DISCOVER) demonstrated that F/TAF had non-inferior efficacy to F/TDF. While both medications have been found to be efficacious and well tolerated, several studies have identified that important differences exist with regards to pharmacokinetics, bone and renal safety profiles, and other factors. In this narrative review, we conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the populations at risk of HIV who may also be affected by, or at risk of, bone or renal conditions. We reviewed the safety profiles of F/TDF and F/TAF to develop an evidence-based algorithm for selecting the appropriate PrEP medication, based on biological, behavioral, and health characteristics of an individual at risk of HIV, and considered how the choice of PrEP medication may or may not compound safety concerns for these individuals. We identified that the introduction of F/TAF provides a valuable alternative to F/TDF, allowing the personalization of PrEP. F/TAF may be the preferred medication for cisgender men and transgender women at risk of HIV infection who are predisposed to, or already have, bone or renal conditions. While the approval of F/TAF is the first step in personalization of PrEP, additional options are still warranted to help accommodate the wide spectrum of individuals at risk of HIV with different lifestyles, medical histories, preferences, and requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-186
Number of pages22
JournalInfectious Diseases and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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