|New Research Findings Confirm PrEP Effectiveness|
by Redaktie in Health & Body , 21 April 2015
Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar
Two studies, the British PROUD study and the French / Canadian IPERGAY study, again show that PrEP can protect against HIV infection. PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis: taking HIV medication preventively, before one is exposed to the HIV virus in order to prevent catching the virus. The studies were presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2015) in Seattle.
The studies were done on a total of 945 gay and bisexual men. The British study wanted to find out whether men who took PrEP make less use of condoms and therefore would contract an STD and/or HIV more easily. The participants in this study took PrEP on a daily basis. The French / Canadian study, on the other hand, researched nondaily use of PrEP. The participants took PrEP 1 day to 2 hours prior to sex and again, two days after sex.
The idea behind this approach is that taking it around sex is cheaper than daily use, and more suitable for people who do not wish to take pills every day. In both studies the participants received information about safe-sex, were given condoms and were tested on HIV and other STDs every three months.
Both studies show that using PrEP is effective as protection against HIV. The group of PrEP users saw 86% less HIV infections. For PrEP users who did contract the virus, the cause of this is known. They either contracted HIV before the beginning of the study or stopped taking PrEP during the study.
For the first time, the French / Canadian study shows that the protection of PrEP is the same when taking PrEP around the time of having sex as when taking it on a daily basis. It was a relatively small study, and more research is necessary to say with confidence that taking PrEP in the period before or after sex is equivalent to taking PrEP daily. Finally, both the British and French / Canadian study show in these interim results that the number of sex partners, the occurrences of unprotected sex, as well as some STDs do not significantly increase by taking PrEP.
PrEP in The Netherlands
The Aids Fonds and Soa/AIDS Netherlands are of the opinion that PrEP access to PrEP should be arranged, something COC Netherlands also advocates. This new tool for HIV prevention can – as a supplement to the condom - help bring down the number of new HIV infections. PrEP is not a replacement for the condom, but is an additional tool. PrEP does not offer protection against other STDs. PrEP provides additional protection for people that run a high risk of HIV infection and find it hard to use condoms consistently and correctly. Doing nothing and waiting for people who do not use a condom to contract HIV is undesirable, both from an individual health and public health perspective.
This spring, GGD Amsterdam is to start a study of the effectiveness of PrEP among Dutch men who have sex with men. This study is an integral part of the H team, a unique alliance of parties that are involved in HIV control in both Amsterdam and on a national level.
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