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PrEP can Stop HIV Epidemic

by Redaktie in Health & Body , 13 December 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

A wide use of the HIV prevention pill PrEP can, on the long term, put an end to the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men. That is the conclusion of a study conducted by Dutch researchers, published in the scientific journal AIDS early November.

"We already knew that the use of PrEP is cost-effective, but this new study shows that PrEP can help us make the Netherlands the first country to have zero new HIV infections. An important condition is that PrEP is widely used by those who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus. This is not yet the case in The Netherlands. The study shows that we need to speed things up. There is no reason to wait in making PrEP widely available for anyone who is at risk. Sooner rather than later," responds Director Louise van Deth of Aidsfonds-SoaAids Netherlands.

Mathematical Model

The new study shows that it is necessary for 82 percent of the men who have sex with men and are in the high-risk group of contracting HIV, to use PrEP for an average of five years’ time. It can be expected that the number of new HIV infections decreases with 50 percent within 15 years and that HIV infections should not occur over the next 40 years. The researchers estimate that, at this moment, only 10 percent of this group is actually using PrEP.

The outcome of this study is based on a mathematical model that can predict future numbers of new HIV infections.

This study was made possible through financial contributions from the Aids Fund and was led by Dr. Ganna Rozhnova of the Julius Centrum voor Gezondheidswetenschappen en Eerstelijns Geneeskunde of UMC Utrecht.


PrEP protects against HIV infections. It is a daily pill that is taken on a daily basis by a person that has not yet been infected and is at risk of contracting the virus. Each year, approximately 800 new HIV infections occur in the Netherlands, the majority among men who have sex with men. In most cases this happens before the people themselves know that they have contracted HIV.

Health insurers do not yet cover the costs (€ 50,- per month) for PrEP, although the use of PrEP prevents the costs of a life-long treatment of HIV.  Minister of Health Bruno Bruins has announced that he intends to make PrEP widely accessible to men who have sex with men for the next five years. After an evaluation of that period, the decision to add PrEP to the obligatory basic insurance of Dutch residents and reimburse it, will be made.


In our youngest issue, Gay News 344, April/ May/ June 2020


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