A three-year trial conducted by The Kirby Institute has shown a significantly better result than expected among gay and bisexual men using PrEP.
Between 2016 and 2019, the trial involved 9,709 gay and bisexual men took PrEP and discovered that HIV transmission rates were 90% lower than expected, reports The Guardian.
HIV transmission within the study group was two in 1,000 participants each year. The Kirby Institute’s Professor Andrew Grulich says, “It really was shown in the study that it really did continue to work extremely well. This is a group, historically, we would have expected to have [transmission] rates of about 20 in 1,000 so this is about 90% lower than we would have expected without PrEP”.
Grulich reported that there were no cases of transmissions for participants that took the drug daily. The cases where HIV transmission was identified came from participants who didn’t follow the advised regimen for the drug. This implies that the effectiveness of PrEP in preventing HIV transmission would be 100% when taken correctly.
The Guardian reports that HIV transmission rates among gay and bisexual men in New South Wales have declined 40% since PrEP was introduced, and 70% in the “gay suburbs” of Sydney. The focus should now be turned towards regional areas and to younger communities, people aged 25 and under.
Recently, the Australian government was introduced to Agenda 2025, a plan that proposed HIV transmissions could end in Australia within four years if given the correct implementation and funding. Part of that proposal included rolling out PrEP as an over-the-counter drug and de-stigmatising the conversation around HIV. With this study offering promising results to back up Agenda 2025, the availability of vital HIV preventative drugs could improve in the near future.