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Pre-exposure prophylaxis necessary to reduce HIV infection rate among MSM

Offering men who have sex with men antiretroviral therapy as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is necessary if the UK is to achieve a marked reduction in the annual rate of HIV infections by the end of 2020. Pictured, a man holds up a PrEP (Truvada) pill

Source: Directphoto Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

Pre-exposure prophylaxis with antiretroviral therapy could prevent a large number of new HIV infections if other strategies, including HIV testing, are simultaneously expanded and improved, say researchers

Offering men who have sex with men (MSM) antiretroviral therapy as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is necessary if the UK is to achieve a marked reduction in the annual rate of HIV infections by the end of this decade, according to research published in The Lancet HIV[1] on 13 January 2016.

Researchers created a mathematical model for HIV transmission based on detailed behaviour and surveillance data.

The model considered seven different interventions designed to reduce HIV infection among MSM over a six-year period. The interventions included testing for HIV once or twice a year, a test-and-treat programme, PrEP and programmes designed to encourage changes in sexual behaviours.

Using a base line of 16,955 new HIV infections in MSM in the UK during the six-year period, the model found that testing twice a year outperformed all other interventions.

Simultaneous PrEP, expansion of HIV testing and initiation of a test-and-treat programme in 25% of high-activity MSM had the potential to save 7,399 (interquartile range [IQR] 5,587–9,813) MSM in the UK from HIV infection (43.6%, IQR 32.9–57.9, of total incidence).

“Our analysis confirmed the importance of implementation of a combination of interventions for effective HIV control in MSM,” say the researchers. “PrEP could prevent a large number of new HIV infections if other key strategies, including HIV testing and treatment, are simultaneously expanded and improved.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20200486

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  • Offering men who have sex with men antiretroviral therapy as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is necessary if the UK is to achieve a marked reduction in the annual rate of HIV infections by the end of 2020. Pictured, a man holds up a PrEP (Truvada) pill

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