PrEP HIV Drug to Start Clinical Trial in England
National Health Service (NHS) England will conduct a 3-year clinical trial involving at least 10,000 people to test a new drug that may dramatically reduce the risk of HIV infection. The drug, which costs the equivalent of more than 500 US dollars per month, is up to 86 percent effective at preventing infection with HIV when administered prior to exposure—called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. According to NHS, there is "strong" evidence the drug is effective.
The clinical trial is designed to help determine who should take the drug and for how long. It will enroll those at highest risk for HIV infection. NHS lost a court battle this past summer, after arguing the responsibility for financing the drug should fall to local health agencies.
About 500 men in England are currently taking the drug in a trial called Proud. Although there is controversy surrounding PrEP—some feel it could encourage a hedonistic lifestyle among those at high risk for HIV—there is little question that the drug can help save lives.
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