The US Food and Drug Administration today announced approval of the use of an anti-retroviral drug (Truvada) as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to help prevent HIV infection amongst those at very high risk.
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust), comments:
‘NAT welcomes the USA’s approval of this new prevention method for those at high risk of HIV infection. However, it is important to remember that this is not the answer to mainstream HIV prevention. Education and condom use must remain at the centre of preventing HIV and it is crucial to remember this as we consider embracing this new technology in the UK.
‘HIV treatment – when taken correctly and regularly monitored – is already known to have preventive benefits which make the chances of transmission to another partner very low. This means the role of PrEP should be limited to a small and specific range of circumstances.
‘The UK now needs to develop a consensus on the role of PrEP, taking into account issues such as cost, the risks of side effects and any resistance to the drug alongside the potential prevention benefits of PrEP. This is exciting news but we shouldn’t rush to adopt a similar approach in the UK without careful consideration.’