New Public Health England Study further proves efficacy of PrEP among men who have sex with men.
Results of new modelling research published in The Lancet HIV journal show that offering PrEP with regular HIV testing, and early treatment to just a quarter of men who have sex with men (MSM) at high risk of contracting HIV could prevent around 7,400 new HIV infections (44 per cent of total incidence) in the UK before 2020.
Researchers estimate that even when targeted only at high-risk men, PrEP was more effective than all other individual measures aimed at the entire UK MSM population, preventing 59 per cent of new infections.
However, they predict that the greatest number of infections would be prevented by a ‘practical combined prevention programme’ that includes PrEP alongside yearly HIV testing for HIV-negative men and immediate antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV-positive men.
Terrence Higgins Trust has been campaigning for almost a year for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) – Stop HIV. PrEP Now to be added to the arsenal of the UK’s HIV prevention approach.
Dr Michael Brady, Medical Director Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been shown, both in clinical trials and in ‘real life’ settings, to be highly effective at preventing HIV transmissions. Despite the proven benefits of condom use and the impact of HIV therapy on reducing transmission, the number of gay men infected with HIV each year has remained relatively stable over the last decade.
“This study is really important as it demonstrates that, in a relatively short space of time, PrEP could have a dramatic impact on reducing HIV transmissions. It also shows the importance of a combination approach to HIV prevention i.e. utilising PrEP alongside other interventions such as increasing HIV testing rates and earlier treatment for those who are infected.
“The reality is that the UK is now lagging well behind other countries on its approach to HIV prevention and its investment in successful interventions such as PrEP. It is essential that PrEP is made available on the NHS as soon as possible for those most at risk. Every month we delay there are more people being unnecessarily infected with HIV.”
In November, France became the first country outside the USA, and the first country with a centrally-organised, reimbursable health system, to approve no-expense pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for people who need it.
NHS England will be taking a view later this year as to whether PrEP will be made available on the NHS in the UK.
To read the Lancet article in full, click here: