Rapid scale-up of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): Implications for the future of HIV prevention
In Australia, more than three quarters of new HIV diagnoses are made among gay and bisexual men (GBM). Annual diagnoses of HIV in Australia continue to increase.
HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the use of HIV treatment medication by people at risk of HIV to reduce their risk of acquisition, has emerged over recent years as a highly-effective HIV prevention tool.
PrEP has been approved in several jurisdictions around the world for use by high-risk populations and was recently approved for HIV prevention in Australia by the Australian Government Department of Health Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Preceding the anticipated public subsidisation of PrEP through Medicare, the Victorian government has funded a program (PrEPX) to rapidly scale-up PrEP access to GBM through high-caseload clinics.
The PrEPX team will be working on a number of important research questions related to the uptake and ongoing use of PrEP by GBM at risk of HIV.
Behavioural data collected at baseline and three-monthly clinic visits will help explore the potential prevention impact of PrEP.
Burnet’s HIV Prevention group:
The HIV Prevention group is playing a crucial role in monitoring the outcomes of the PrEPX trial in Victoria. Data collection, including through the ACCESS surveillance system, is monitoring crucial implementation outcomes such as the effectiveness of PrEP and its impact on sexual behaviours and sexually transmitted infections.
We will also monitor the background incidence of HIV among gay men attending PrEP implementation clinics, undertaking world-leading research to measure the impact of rapid PrEP scale-up on background rates of HIV transmission.