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Australia reports on PrEP success

Thursday October 18th, 2018

Rapid and high coverage roll-out of PrEP programme can have a dramatic impact on the spread of HIV, Australian researchers report today.

The programme in New South Wales successfully cut the rate of new infections among gay and bisexual men by 25% - achieving the lowest infection rate since the virus has been recorded, researchers reported.

PrEP is being introduced in a pilot scheme in London, England after a sustained campaign.

During the research treatment was given to 3,700 men with “high levels of adherence,” the researchers report in The Lancet HIV.

The overall impact was to reduce the number of new diagnoses among gay and bisexual men from 295 to 221. Among the treated group, just two people were infected.

The researchers say this is the first empirical study of its kind – although the treatment has been subject to randomised control trials. The Australian state is said to be an “ideal” test-bed because it achieves high rates of diagnosis and treatment of HIV.

Professor Andrew Grulich, of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, said: "Our results support the population-level effectiveness of PrEP one year after rapid PrEP implementation at scale.

"PrEP is a highly effective preventative approach when implemented alongside high levels of HIV testing and treatment. Roll-out should be prioritised as a crucial component of HIV prevention in epidemics predominantly affecting men who have sex with men."

He added: "This study involved a large-scale and state-wide response to ensure that PrEP was made available to men at high risk of HIV infection.”

Tags: Australia | Flu & Viruses | Men's Health | Pharmaceuticals

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