April 7, 2017

The large fall in HIV diagnoses in London gay men is real and thanks to combination prevention, not just PrEP

Written by Roger Pebody

This article originally appeared on NAM’s website.

The number of new HIV diagnoses in gay men attending five key London clinics fell substantially during 2015 and 2016, Valerie Delpech of Public Health England told the British HIV Association (BHIVA) conference in Liverpool yesterday.

Epidemiological analysis shows that the phenomenon is real. Diagnoses fell while testing rates dramatically increased, showing that the explanation cannot be reduced testing. The CD4 cell counts of newly diagnosed men increased, suggesting that fewer new diagnoses are indeed the reflection of fewer new infections. The time from diagnosis to starting HIV treatment has fallen.

Delpech said that the results were the result of combination prevention – testing and ‘treatment as prevention’. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is likely to have contributed to the fall, but to a lesser extent, she said. It could have more impact in the future.

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