A new study published this morning in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that implement a PrEP program to reduce HIV transmission has an efficiency of 86%.
“If such a program were established in Quebec, we could eliminate HIV transmission within a few years,” said Dr. Cécile Tremblay, microbiologist and infectious disease researcher at the Research Centre of the Centre hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal (CHUM Research Centre) .
The study, conducted in part by Dr. Tremblay, was conducted among a group of 400 men who had more than two male sexual partners for six months and do not regularly use condoms. In this cohort, 50 participants live in Quebec.
Each of the participants was followed by the team of Dr. Tremblay and was providing prophylaxis treatment on demand. “They had to take their treatment 24 hours before having unprotected sex. They did not take the medication continuously, “says Dr. Tremblay.
These patients visiting their doctor every two weeks and were tested for HIV but also for other sexually transmitted infections.
According to the study, the efficacy of this prophylactic treatment was 86%. For Dr. Tremblay, Quebec should proceed with preventive prophylaxis strategy combined with actions to improve screening.
“Especially as different studies have shown that prevention is far less costly to health systems that treatment,” she said.
Dr. Tremblay rejects the criticism that people at risk of HIV become more careless with access to preventive prophylaxis treatment, also known as PREP. “The reality is that it disempowers not at all. This treatment is for people who know they are at risk and do not control many risk management. Prophylaxis protects until they stabilize their lives. For many, this period is temporary, “she said.
Lifetime cost of HIV infection: between $ 448,000 and $ 690,000
Number of new HIV infections per year in Quebec: 400