Drug linked with fall in condom use among gay men

PrEP’s is driving down HIV transmission but this could be undermined if more men not on the drug begin eschewing protection, experts warn.

A “game-changer” HIV drug which cuts the risk of being infected by more than 90% has led to a “striking reduction” in regular condom use among gay and bisexual men, research has found.

Analysis of sexual health trends before and after daily ‘pre-exposure prophylaxis’ (PrEP) drug, Truvada, became widely available in major Australian cities found even men not taking the treatment are less likely to use a condom.

PrEP’s roll out is driving noticeable declines in new HIV infections in many regions; one London clinic reported a 42 per cent drop, the first significant decrease in decades, even before it got wider NHS funding.

The drug kills off the virus before it can become established after transmission from an infected partner, but its effectiveness is lessened if it is not taken consistently and even daily use is not 100 per cent effective.

However, it does not prevent the spread of other sexually transmitted infections and experts warn the declining condom use could lead to HIV and other diseases “rebounding” in unprotected men.

“PrEP has been heralded as a game-changer for HIV,” said Professor Martin Holt at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, who led the research published in the Lancet HIV journal.

“But declining condom use may impede its long-term population-level effectiveness.” So chaps, lets not get lazy, lets get Stiffy!

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