Study shows PrEP has massive impact on HIV among gay & bi men
Researchers found that new infections in this group in New South Wales (NSW) declined by almost one-third following the introduction of the HIV prevention medication in March 2016.
The globally unprecedented reductions provide strong evidence to support the large-scale, targeted provision of PrEP to prevent HIV transmission. The results of the EPIC-NSW trial were published in The Lancet HIV.
When taken daily, PrEP prevents HIV negative people from acquiring the virus. The trial is the first study globally to measure the impact of PrEP on reducing HIV in a large population.
“The speed of the decline we’ve seen in new HIV infections in gay and bisexual men is a world first,” said Professor Andrew Grulich from the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney, who led the trial. “In the year following the trial, state-wide new HIV infections in this population decreased by one third. These numbers are the lowest on record since HIV surveillance began in 1985,” explained Grulich.
NSW was the first state in Australia to trial PrEP at a large scale. “The results from EPIC-NSW provide an important evidence-base to inform our response to HIV globally,” noted Grulich. “We now know that PrEP implemented quickly, at a large scale, and targeted to high-risk populations can help turn the HIV epidemic around.”
It is estimated that there more than 150,000 people on PrEP around the world. PrEP is available for free for gay, bi and other men who have sex with men in limited locations in South Africa. It can also be bought through a doctor’s script.