Reuters (04.17.12) - Wednesday, April 18, 2012
In a new study, researchers at Stanford University found that
using AIDS drugs to prevent infection among men who have sex
with men (MSM) and are at high risk of HIV infection would be
expensive, but could also reduce infection rates
The authors estimate that if 20 percent of high-risk
individuals - MSM who have five or more sexual partners a year
- took the drug Truvada as a form of pre-exposure prophylaxis
(PrEP), it could prevent 41,000 new infections over 20 years.
The cost would be about $16.6 billion.
In contrast, the team estimated that giving the drug daily to
all MSM in the United States would cost $495 billion over the
same 20-year period, including the cost of drugs and health
care visits. In addition, giving the drug for PrEP might limit
its use for treating people who are already HIV-positive.
"Use in high-risk [MSM] would provide substantial health
benefits at a lower cost, although the budgetary effect would
still be sizeable," said Jessie Juusola, one of the Stanford
Since 2010, when a landmark study in the New England Journal
of Medicine found that that giving a daily dose of Gilead
Sciences' Truvada to MSM can reduce HIV infection rates by 44
percent, efforts have been made to find a way to make PrEP
A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel is expected to
consider in mid-May whether to allow Gilead to market the drug
as a way to prevent HIV infection in healthy people. The drug
already is approved to treat people who are infected with HIV.
The new study, "The Cost-Effectiveness of Preexposure
Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention in the United States in Men Who
Have Sex with Men," was published in the Annals of Internal