This study marks the first evidence that oral pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, reduces HIV infection risk and offers a new approach to reducing the number of new HIV infections worldwide.
Boston's Fenway Health has been one of only two US sites involved in the study, which recruited 2499 men in 6 countries in 4 continents, and is also home to one of the authors of the new study, Dr. Ken Mayer.
"We had reached a plateau in preventing the transmission of HIV," said Dr. Mayer. "For more than 15 years, the rate of new infections in the U.S. has been stuck at about 56 thousand per year; globally, there are more than 2.5 million new HIV infections per year. There has been no downward movement in this number, which meant that we desperately needed a new approach. Today's announcement marks a tremendous step forward -- it's now possible that within five years, we can significantly reduce the number of new infections."
The full article is published online within The New England Journal of Medicine and is free to access.