By Dr. Anthony Policastro

The HIV (AIDS) epidemic was the scourge of the 1990s. Thanks to a group of antiviral medications it makes less headlines today. However, it is still causing infections. The continent of Africa is the current hotbed of HIV infections.

What people often do not realize is that there has been an advance in the treatment of HIV infection. It is known as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). It consists of a pair of drugs that will prevent infection if someone is exposed to HIV.

Certain groups of individuals are at higher risk for HIV infections. Those are the individuals for whom this treatment regimen is addressed.

The decision whether to start someone on PrEP is related to the medical history of the individual. The history is called the five P’s.

The first P stands for Partners. This is aimed at the number of partners an individual has. It also takes into account how exclusive those partners are in turn. The more partners the higher the risk.

The second P stands for sexual Practices. Some practices are at higher risk than others. Those who engage in these practices are at higher risk.

The third P stands for Protection from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s). The protection that one uses in general to protect against other STI’s tends to help prevent HIV infections. Those who use no protection are at higher risk.

The fourth P stands for Past STI’s. Those with a past history of STI’s clearly engaged in risky practices. If you can pick up another STI due to your practices, HIV infection is also possible.

The fifth P stands for Pregnancy prevention. This is similar to protection from STI’s. Many of the practices that prevent pregnancy can also prevent STI’s like HIV infections.

There is also a sixth P that can be added. That is related to drug Paraphernalia. Sharing of needles for drug use is a risk factor for HIV infection as well.

Individuals who engage in any of these risky behaviors should consider looking at the Delaware PrEP website for help in obtaining further information. They can go to They can alternatively go to 

We do not hear as much about HIV infections as we once did. We could hear even less if those at high risk sought pre-exposure assistance.

COVID update- Numbers of new cases continue to decrease. Nationally, there were 3,653,000 new cases last week. That is down to 2,439,000 this week. We continue to move toward the pre-surge 500,000-600,000 cases per week.

In Sussex County there were 2,016 cases last week. That number is down to 828 this week. We continue to move toward the pre-surge 500-600 cases per week. 

It is worth looking at just how many cases Omicron has caused in a short period of time. From March 11, 2020 until Aug. 25, 2021 we had a total of about 39 million cases. That was more than 17 months. We have had the same number of cases in the last five months because of Omicron.

In the six weeks since Christmas there have been about 90,000 U.S. deaths from COVID-19. That is 10 percent of the total deaths in a six-week period. The other 90 percent took 93 weeks. That is about 90,000 deaths every 10 weeks compared to the current six-week surge. Omicron is not a benign variant.