Implementing HIV Prevention Methods on the Local Level: Mario Perez Discusses Use of PrEP in Los Angeles County

Content From: Miguel Gomez, Director,, and Senior Communications Advisor, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: June 19, 20133 min read


Mario Perez Mario Perez, PACHA MemberAs outlined in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, one of the key steps to successfully reducing the number of new HIV infections in the U.S. is expanding targeted HIV prevention efforts using a combination of effective, evidence-based approaches. Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with Mario Pérez, Director of the Division of HIV and STD Programs at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and a member of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, about how Los Angeles County is implementing one of those evidence-based HIV prevention strategies on the local level.

We asked Mr. Pérez to describe Los Angeles County’s implementation of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) among targeted populations. PrEP is an HIV prevention method in which high-risk HIV-negative individuals take daily antiretroviral drugs to reduce their risk of becoming infected. When used consistently, PrEP has been shown to be effective in men who have sex with men (MSM), heterosexually-active men and women, and most recently, injection drug users. PrEP is not intended to be used in isolation, but rather in combination with other prevention methods to reduce the risk of HIV infection. If it is delivered effectively and targeted to those at highest risk, PrEP may play a role in helping to reduce the incidence of new HIV infections in the United States. In July 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Truvada® (emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) as PrEP in combination with safe sex practices, risk reduction counseling, and regular HIV testing to reduce the risk of sexually-acquired HIV infection in uninfected adults who are at highest risk for HIV infection, and studies are planned and underway on how to maximize the benefits of PrEP. (Read more about PrEP on this page from CDC. “We’re very excited to see what the results of the study show in terms of accessibility, acceptability, and cost-effectiveness and are eager to share our findings with partners throughout the country, so that they can see if PrEP is something they should consider implementing. We’re excited that there has been political will in our state and county to test this biomedical intervention because it really has the potential to help avert some of the many new infections we see in the United States.”

To learn more about what’s happening in Los Angeles County, view our recent interview with Mr. Pérez on how Los Angeles County is using the HIV treatment cascade as a tool to inform their HIV prevention, treatment, and care efforts.

To learn more about PrEP, please see the following blog posts:Editor's Note: This blog was developed from a conversation with Mr. Perez while he recorded Conversations on - HIV Treatment Cascade on the Local Level: Mario Perez, LA County video.