Pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP is the use of existing HIV antiretroviral medication to prevent HIV transmission and is the latest HIV prevention tool in the arsenal against HIV.
News from the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) held in Seattle, Washington (USA) has confirmed that PrEP is highly effective in a ‘real-world setting’ and further confirms that PrEP should be adopted into the suite of prevention tools the community has to combat HIV infections.
In July 2014, the World Health Organisation stated gay men should consider using PrEP as an additional method of preventing HIV infection. Two international trials - the IPERGAY trial and the PROUD study results from CROI today confirmed PrEP as a highly efficacious HIV prevention tool to the international HIV community.
“This is a very exciting development for HIV positive people. For the first time we’re seeing a medical intervention which levels the playing field for HIV negative and positive people. It provides an opportunity for HIV negative people to join their HIV positive partners in doing everything possible to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic,” says Brent Allan, Executive Officer, Living Positive Victoria. “HIV positive people have a wealth of experience to support those individuals who choose to use PrEP. There are shared experiences of adherence, disclosure and in a way that everyone in the community becomes empowered as educators around HIV.”
Recently, there has been increased discussion around PrEP availability in Australia and the need to make gay men in particular aware of this development. Living Positive Victoria calls on all HIV organisations to raise awareness and to improve access and support for individuals wanting to use PrEP.
“Access to affordable and effective new prevention technologies is critical to meeting the bold HIV targets agreed to by the states in the National HIV Strategy” says Ian Muchamore, President, Living Positive Victoria. “I am delighted to hear how the community is putting its own spin on the acronym PrEP at CROI: Proactive Responsible Empowered Pleasure.”
For more information on how to access PrEP please see ACON’s PrEP Access Options