There has been much debate in recent weeks about the decision not to make PrEP available on the NHS for men who have sex with men, but how many of us would actually go on the treatment if we could?
Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University, in partnership with the University of Glasgow, have published the first study
examining public awareness and acceptability of the drug, which effectively prevents HIV transmission among men who have sex with men.
They have found that after surveying 690 MSM in Scotland, 47.8% said they would go on PrEP if it were available to them. Surprisingly however, only 29.7% of those surveyed in the report had ever even heard of the HIV-prevention medication.
Men aged between 18 and 25, and those who engage in higher risk sexual activity were significantly more likely to say they would use PrEP, showing that those who are most likely to benefit from the drug are those who are most likely to use it.
Dr Jamie Frankis who conducted the report said PrEP "has huge potential to reduce HIV transmission in the UK amongst key population groups, along with other risk management strategies including condom use, HIV testing and ‘Treatment as Prevention’."
Recent clinical trials in the UK and France found that PrEP reduces HIV transmission by up to 86% for MSM. It is already available in countries including Canada, Israel and Kenya, but last month HIV charities were left disappointed when the NHS made a last minute u-turn
and decided not to roll out PrEP for MSM after all.
So far there has only been one reported case of a man becoming infected with HIV while on the medication.
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