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STI challenge for PrEP

Thursday December 12th, 2019

Programmes providing pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV infection need to spend time on patients' overall sexual health, according to a World Health Organisation study.

PrEP is being rolled out in England amid growing evidence of its effectiveness in preventing HIV.

But the Australian study found patients at high risk of other sexually transmitted diseases.

Researchers said there was "limited focus" on this issue within HIV programmes.

The study at Monash University found that 72% of PrEP users were diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhoea or syphilis within a year of starting the treatment. Some 24% were already infected with these diseases before starting the treatment.

The findings have been published in JAMA Network Open.

Dr Rachel Baggaley, from WHO, said: “High numbers of curable STIs are being missed particularly in low- and middle-income countries. PrEP services can help prevent not just HIV but also STIs, and we should take advantage of this opportunity."

Professor Christopher Fairley, director of the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, said: “PrEP has the potential to be one of the most significant and powerful interventions to prevent HIV infection, and this paper has now highlighted an additional advantage of PrEP; that it provides an opportunity to improve the sexual health of those individuals and populations at highest risk of both HIV and STIs.”

JAMA Network Open 11 December 2019

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2757370

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

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