The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) on Monday released proposed guidelines for gay and
bisexual men to combat some increasingly common sexually transmitted
Officials will finalize the plan after
a 45-day public comment period, the AP reported.
The therapy involves the antibiotic
doxycycline given within three days of unprotected sex. In one study
released earlier this year, people who took the pills were about 90%
less likely to get chlamydia, about 80% less likely to get syphilis,
and more than 50% less likely to get gonorrhea compared to people who
did not take the pills after unprotected sex.
Study participants were gay and
bisexual men and transgender women who had a sexually transmitted
infection in the previous twelve months. The approach has not been
shown to be effective for heterosexual men and women.
The approach, called DoxyPEP, is
already being used in some areas of the country, including San
Francisco, where the city's health department began promoting the
therapy to gay and bisexual men and transgender women a year ago.
Health officials are searching for new
tools to combat such infections as rates continue to climb.
The CDC's move should increase adoption
of the therapy across the nation.
Doxycycline has been available in the
United States for roughly 40 years and has few side effects. However,
some doctors worry that widespread use as a preventive measure could
lead to antibiotic resistance. LGBTQ health advocates say some of the
hesitation could be related to doctors' discomfort with promoting
healthy gay sex.