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The PROUD Study is to fast track deferred participants onto PrEP after interim results show it to be highly effective at preventing HIV amongst men who have sex with men.

The PROUD Study, run by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Public Health England (PHE) has conducted interim analysis of its trial regarding the efficacy of Truvada as Pre-Exposure Prophlyaxis  (PrEP) in preventing HIV infection amongst gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM).

These welcome results have lead to the Proud Trial Steering Committee announcing that participants on thproudstudye deferred arm of the trial, where the participants went without PrEP for 12 months before starting the medication, will be offered the chance to move onto PrEP ahead of schedule. The study consists of 545 MSM and transgender women.

This form of PrEP involves HIV-negative people taking Truvada (a co-formulation of tenofovir and emtricitabine) to provide protection from HIV infection. It works best when taken daily and consistently.

A press release from the PROUD Trial steering committee said:

“This result is a major step forward towards the control of HIV transmission in gay men in the UK. It shows that PrEP is highly effective at protecting against HIV, and is an exciting opportunity to engage men most-at -risk of HIV and turn the tide on the spread of this infection. The final results will provide evidence to support making PrEP available in the NHS. It also paves the way for future research to identify other PrEP regimens that may be even easier to adhere to or have even fewer side-effects “

Rosemary Gillespie, Chief Executive of The Terrence Higgins Trust commented on the findings:

“This is potentially the most exciting development in HIV prevention in some years. For a trial to be fast-tracked in this way is rare, and shows just how much confidence researchers have in PrEP as a tool to reduce the spread of HIV. A number of questions remain unanswered, including how PrEP will be made available and who will be able to access it. The PROUD study has accelerated their part of the process. We will now be looking to the NHS to match that pace, and act swiftly to ensure those most at risk of HIV in the UK can access PrEP.”

For more on PrEP and The PROUD Study visit www.proud.mrc.ac.uk

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