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PrEP drug 'could prevent 1 in 4 HIV infections'

(continued)

Preventing around a quarter of infections

Over 80 years, they estimate that 1 in 4 HIV infections could be prevented by PrEP, equivalent to 44,300 fewer HIV infections compared with a scenario in which PrEP was not available.

They estimate that this would save the NHS up to £1 billion over this time frame because fewer men would need lifelong HIV treatment.

In a linked comment article in the same journal, Paul Revill and Ellen Dwyer, from the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York, write: "These findings … call for NHS policy makers to negotiate with manufacturers to get favourable deals on prices and to be far sighted: invest now and reap long-term gains."

They add: "With a combination of frequent HIV testing, immediate treatment, and PrEP availability, there is now the prospect of bending the curve of new HIV infections downwards in a way that did not seem feasible just a few years ago.

"Will this progress occur or will these efforts be hampered by continued NHS reorganisation and funding quarrels between government departments? Only time will tell."

Dr Michael Brady, medical director at the Terrence Higgins Trust, comments in an emailed statement: "One of the key arguments against PrEP has been that it will cost the NHS too much money. This study firmly puts that claim to bed by demonstrating that, when appropriately targeted at those at risk of HIV, it is not only highly cost effective but, as the price of HIV drugs falls, will actually save the NHS money in the long run.

"Each HIV infection prevented saves the NHS £360,000 of a lifetime of treatment and care."

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Reviewed on October 18, 2017

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