HIV preventive drug is 99% effective, study says

HIV preventive drug is 99% effective, study says

A drug that stops HIV infection has proven to be a very effective preventive treatment. That's the conclusion after a study of over 24,000 people who took it across England.

The UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA), which led the PrEP Impact Trial, said it was the largest real-world study of its kind ever conducted. It was carried out in 157 sexual health clinics across England between October 2017 and July 2020.

The study found that using PrEP, also known as prophylaxis, reduced the chances of contracting HIV by about 86% when used in everyday life. Clinical studies suggested that the drug is 99% effective.

Dr John Saunders, a consultant in sexual health and HIV, who worked on the study, said: "This trial has further demonstrated the effectiveness of PrEP in preventing HIV transmission."

The Terrence Higgins Trust HIV charity welcomed the publication of the study but said there was "more to do" to increase access and awareness of the drug, particularly among some minority groups.

PrEP, which contains the existing HIV treatment drugs tenofovir disoproxil and emtricitabine, works by stopping HIV from entering the body and multiplying. It can be taken either as a daily pill or before intercourse.