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Is this the future of PrEP?

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Photo by Artūras Kokorevas by Pexels

A new study found combining treatments could lead to an astounding reduction of HIV transmissions.

Is those at risk of contracting HIV began taking both a long-acting injectable form of PrEP as well as a daily pill, it could yield enormous results for public health, according to an updated report from the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute.

The number of HIV cases averted would be 87 percent higher if people were prescribed both the oral and long-acting treatments, compared to using only daily oral PrEP, leading to medical cost savings of $4.25 billion over 10 years; "139,296 person-years of HIV treatment would be averted over ten years," according to a statement from the Institute. By comparison, assuming only oral PrEP use over a decade, only 74,540 person-years of HIV treatment would be averted, with medical cost savings of $2.27 billion.

The difference in results, according to the latest research, is because of higher user adherence of the long-acting injectable compared to the daily pill.

Only about 36 percent of people who the Centers for Disease Control believe should be on PrEP are currently on it, with many members of marginalized communities, including Black and transgender people, at risk of contracting HIV because they are not on the preventative medication.

“We must make sure that everyone with a reason to be on PrEP is able to access the medication best suited to their needs. With new long-acting PrEP, many people who have had a hard time adhering to a regimen of a daily pill now have another option to prevent HIV,” Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute, said in a statement. “And we now know that more cases of HIV can be averted and medical costs can be saved by gradually increasing the uptake of long-acting PrEP. This must be taken into account as we develop policies and programs regarding the use and coverage of PrEP.”

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Neal Broverman