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PrEP could help cut HIV cases by up to a quarter and cut costs

Up to one in four cases of HIV in men who have sex with other men could be prevented by providing them with pre-emptive medication, a move that would also result in cost savings, research shows.

Up to one in four cases of HIV in men who have sex with other men could be prevented by providing them with pre-emptive medication, a move that would also result in cost savings, research shows

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Up to one in four cases of HIV in men who have sex with other men could be prevented by providing them with pre-emptive medication, research shows.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis  (PrEP) medication could result in 44,300 fewer HIV infections over 80 years (134,600 compared with 178,900 with no PrEP), modelling by the study suggests.

PrEP is a combination of two anti-HIV drugs, emtricitabine and tenofovir, that are taken daily or around the time of sexual activity to reduce the risk of HIV infection.

The study, published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, estimates that PrEP could result in savings of up to £1 billion over 80 years as fewer men would require lifelong HIV treatment.

3,000

or more new diagnoses of HIV in men who have sex with men were recorded in the UK each year from 2012 to 2015.

Source: The Lancet study

It could also become cost-effective within 40 years or less of its introduction, as patents for drugs used in PrEP expire.

It is the first study to look at the cost-effectiveness of a national rollout of PrEP.

Study author Valentina Cambiano of University College London said: ‘Our work suggests that the introduction of PrEP will ultimately lead to a saving in costs.’

NHS England began providing PrEP to selected clinics from September after losing a high court action in which it argued that local authorities were responsible for funding.


Cambiano V et al (2017) Cost-effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention in men who have sex with men in the UK: a modelling study and health economic evaluation. The Lancet. doi: 10.1016/ S1473-3099(17)30540-6

 

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