Randomised PrEP trials close early due to highly effective results.

29 October 2014
An HIV ribbon

A randomised PrEP trial has closed early due to highly effective results. IPERGAY is the second European PrEP study to be closed early due to high effectiveness. It follows the closure of another randomised study, PROUD, that also was cut short due to highly significant results. This is promising news for changing the future of HIV prevention and treatment, especially for men who have sex with men (MSM).

The study highlights the effectiveness of taking PrEP as a preliminary method before engaging in sexual activity rather than continually taking medication. The randomised control study provided either a placebo or PrEP to MSM before engaging in sex and for two days following sex. The results overwhelmingly revealed the effectiveness of PrEP, evidencing a significant reduction in HIV infection. The results not only further highlight the benefits of PrEP for HIV prevention, but also that PrEP can be taken intermittingly for those who are pre-empting sexual activity. The results, which remain unpublished at present, are expected to be available in 2015. The trial will continue non-randomised for the following twelve months to further examine the effectiveness and validity of PrEP taken intermittently.

The results of the IPERGAY trial and similar findings from earlier trials will hopefully influence and change the HIV prevention landscape in the future. It is undoubtedly an exciting time for HIV research with various trials and studies revealing significant results for both HIV prevention and treatment. However, it is important that during this time, key and existing prevention methods are not overlooked. Using a condom remains a key HIV prevention method and it is critical that in the hype surrounding PrEP and other new methods, individuals continue to use condoms. It is clear that HIV prevention is developing dramatically and balancing these new preventative measures with existing methods remains a challenge for the future.

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