Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) pill. [iStockphoto]

A new study has found a preventive HIV drug to be highly effective. 

The study, called “the PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxes) Impact Trial”, was conducted by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. 

The results of the study are published in the Lancet HIV. The release statement said it has “only just been released because of the large sample size and the time taken to peer review it”. 

According to the study, PrEP, a drug that stops HIV from infecting the body has now been proven to be highly effective in the “real world” as a preventative treatment. 

The confirmation was made following the results of research that was conducted on 24,000 people taking the PrEP across England. The results were described as “reassuring”. 

Reportedly, before the latest confirmation news on PrEP being “highly effective”, thousands of people in England were already taking the drug which was accessible through sexual health clinics across England. 


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The news was received positively, and according to Terrence Higgins Trust, an HIV charity network, “there must be easier access to the drug, since many people, including women, do not know it exists”. 

However, the charity said that “more needed to be done” to increase access to, and awareness of the drug, particularly among some minority groups. 

“It is the largest ever real-world study of its kind”, said a statement from UKHSA, which also disclosed that the study was carried out at 157 sexual health clinics across England between October 2017 and July 2020. 

The study found that the use of PrEP reduced the chances of getting infected with HIV by around 86 per cent when used in everyday life, taking into consideration the account of inconsistent or incorrect use. On the other hand, clinical trials suggested that the medication is 99 per cent effective. 

PrEP is available in Kenya with the Ministry of Health allegedly providing the drug free with a minimal charge for delivery services. According to the national guidelines, individuals eligible to use PrEP are those who are HIV uninfected and who report having multiple sex partners, having partners of unknown HIV status, or have had a recently transmitted infection (STI). 

The drug was introduced in the country in 2016 by the government as a method known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), becoming the second country in sub-Saharan Africa to issue full regulatory approval of the method, which uses anti-retro-viral drugs to protect HIV-negative people from HIV infection before potential exposure to the HIV.