A new Drexel University study has determined that the US could reach its 2020 HIV prevention goal to prevent 30% of new HIV infections if just 25% of men who have sex with men (MSM) appropriately use the HIV prevention drug PrEP.

The study found that when 1% of the HIV-negative population used PrEP, 1.6% of HIV infections were prevented; however, when 25% of the HIV-negative population used PrEP, a whopping 30.7% of HIV infected were prevented.

In addition, the investigators looked at the potential outcomes of using other prevention methods, such as condoms, using different positions during intercourse (seroadaptive behaviors), and treatment as prevention. The results for these methods were indicated in the press release as follows:

  • Condom use prevented 48.8% of infections;
  • Seroadaptive behaviors prevented 37.7%; and
  • Treatment as prevention prevented 27.1%.

Combining these efforts yielded even better results, preventing 72.2% of infections.

PrEP is just another ‘tool in the toolbox’ for HIV prevention, but it is an important one,” Michael T LeVasseur, PhD, MPH, a biostatistician at the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at Drexel said. “PrEP can empower individuals who are in relationships where one person has HIV and the other doesn’t. It can also ease anxieties around HIV testing, as well as enhance sexual intimacy.”

“Many men who have sex with men have felt significant anxiety around sexual intimacy due to fear of HIV infection, even with condom use, frequent HIV testing and seroadaptive techniques,” LeVasseur continued. “Highlighting how effective these prevention methods are would certainly lead to an increase in PrEP uptake and easing of the mind.”

Call MASS to speak with one of our educated staff members about PrEP and if it may be a good match for you. All of MASS staff members are certified and trained to conduct the RAPID HIV testing, and to implement the pre- and post-test counseling.