New Study: HIV Reduced 55%
HIV reduced by 55% in England over a 2 year period a new study shows. Dana Ogaz of Public Health England made the presentation at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2019). The study shows the incidence of new HIV infections dropping 55% during two year period in men who have sex with men attending English sexual health clinics.
The data is from information routinely collected at sexual health clinics from 2012-2017. However, the modeling studies show the 55% HIV reduction happening in two years. It includes gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM). In addition, it only includes those visiting the clinic twice or more in the same year. Because of this, it might not characterize the broader population.
We Can’t Say Cause And Effect…
This is amazing information! But how did it happen? In the scientific community, this study does not show a direct “cause” and “effect”. What data does show though, is that at same time HIV reduced, access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) was increasing. Which also corresponds to expanding testing and improvements in rapidly getting people into care after diagnosis.
Why did they conduct this study?
England is gearing up to roll out PrEP across the entire country. Therefore, this study provides a baseline to measure the impact of PrEP.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) However….
Meanwhile, same study shows STIs increasing dramatically. These increases from 2012-2017 are among gay men attending sexual health clinics regularly.
- 90% increase in gonorrhoea diagnoses
- 80% increase in chlamydia diagnoses
- 160% increase in syphilis diagnoses
The reasons for these increases weren’t identified.
Whats does this mean to Florida?
It wouldn’t be appropriate to make a direct comparison from England to Florida. However, Florida just rolled out PrEP across the entire state in 2018. And Florida is implementing Test and Treat. Which simply means prompt initiation of HIV treatment after diagnosis. Improving STI evaluation, treatment and surveillance could prevent an increase in STIs.
There are also many demographic, cultural, political, and socio-economic variables involved. It would appear as though Florida has the pieces in place, but can we make them work to say “HIV reduced in Florida”?
Orlando Immunology Center
Community Relations Manager