A landmark new study has confirmed that HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is highly effective at preventing HIV acquisition when used in real-world settings. The PrEP Impact Trial, involving more than 24,000 participants between October 2017 and July 2020, found that PrEP use reduced the chances of getting HIV by 86%.
The study, which was led by the UK Health Security Agency and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, is the largest real-world study of PrEP to date. It found that PrEP was effective in preventing HIV acquisition in a range of populations, including men who have sex with men, heterosexual couples, and people who inject drugs.
The findings of the study have been published in the medical journal The Lancet HIV. The authors of the study say that their findings "provide strong evidence to support the wider rollout of PrEP as part of comprehensive HIV prevention strategies.
Dr John Saunders, deputy head of programme delivery and service improvement for STI and HIV Division, UKHSA said: “This trial has further demonstrated the effectiveness of PrEP in preventing HIV transmission and has, for the first time, shown the protective effect reported by earlier trials, but at scale and delivered through routine sexual health services in England.”
Dr Roger Chinn, chief medical officer, Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust said: “As a leading centre for HIV care and research in England, we have seen first-hand how PrEP has significantly reduced the transmission of HIV in our own population – transforming the lives of so many.
“By sponsoring this latest trial, we are proud to be supporting increased access to PrEP with the shared aim of ending new HIV infections by 2030.”
Professor Kevin Fenton, the government’s chief advisor on HIV and Chair of HIV Action Plan Implementation Steering Group, said: “Advances in medicines in treating HIV have been life-changing for so many people – and PrEP has been central to that.
“It is a powerful tool that reduces the risk of acquiring HIV. Expanding access to, and the uptake of PrEP is key to our ambition to end HIV transmission in England by 2030, and a public health priority.
“Our National HIV Action Plan is clear on the key role of PrEP in preventing HIV transmission and there is ongoing work to develop a roadmap to guide our efforts to improve equitable access, uptake and use of PrEP to meet the needs of key populations at significant risk of HIV.”
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