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HIV drugs thought to help ‘reverse epidemic’ in healthy gay men

Posted on 14.01.2016
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Recently published calculations have suggested that giving HIV drugs to healthy gay men on a daily basis could help to prevent new infections from taking hold.

The calculations, published in the Lancet, suggest that if daily drugs are administered to those with the highest risk of contracting HIV, the number of infected people could be cut by more than 40% in the UK.

Statistics show that gay men in London are at the highest risk of contracting HIV in the UK, with one in eight gay men living with the infection. The rest of the UK shows one in 26.

How can HIV contraction be prevented?

The simplest and one of the most effective methods of prevention is to use condoms. However, these are often ignored.

Studies show that by 2020, there will be 16,955 further cases of HIV in gay men. Tests carried out last year on 500 men examined the effects of an alternative prevention method – pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep).

The tests showed that giving men Prep drugs for a year could prevent one case in 13. That is a staggering 7,399 cases of infection.

Medical Director of the Terrence Higgins Trust, Dr Michael Brady said: “This study is really important as it demonstrates that, in a relatively short space of time, Prep could have a dramatic impact on reducing HIV transmissions.”

Prep is being evaluated by the NHS to judge whether it should be administered. 

Source: BBC Health

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