PrEP Demonstrates Strong Real-World Effectiveness in Preventing HIV Transmission
A groundbreaking study, conducted across England with 24,000 participants, has affirmed the high efficacy of a drug for preventing HIV transmission in real-world scenarios. The drug, known as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), has been hailed as a “reassuring” preventative treatment based on the study’s outcomes.
Led by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) in collaboration with the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the PrEP Impact Trial stands as the largest real-world study of its kind. Over the course of the trial, spanning from October 2017 to July 2020 and involving 157 sexual health clinics, the study examined the effectiveness of PrEP in a diverse and extensive population.
The results are compelling, indicating an 86% reduction in the likelihood of contracting HIV among individuals using PrEP. Notably, these findings align with clinical trials that initially suggested a 99% efficacy rate. Dr. John Saunders, a consultant in sexual health and HIV involved in the study, emphasised the significance of these results, stating that the trial showcased the protective effect of PrEP at scale within routine sexual health services in England.
While the study’s publication has been welcomed by the Terrence Higgins Trust HIV charity, there is a call for increased accessibility and awareness of PrEP, especially among underrepresented minority groups. Debbie Laycock, the head of policy at the trust, highlighted the need for expanded access to PrEP through pharmacies and online platforms to reach individuals who may not be aware of its existence, particularly women.
Dr. Saunders underscored the importance of the study in not only confirming the clinical success of PrEP but also providing insights into its usage patterns. Understanding factors such as prescription rates and adherence is crucial for optimising the real-world effectiveness of PrEP and ensuring that more individuals can benefit from this powerful preventive measure against HIV transmission.