TORONTO — A new study claims there are financial benefits to the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drug Truvada in addition to its benefits at preventing HIV infection, Health Canal reports.
Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital developed a mathematical model to evaluate the impact of PrEP on the number of new HIV infections among gay men in Toronto, the number of HIV-related deaths averted and the cost impact on the health-care system. Their findings were published online last week in the Journal of the International AIDS Society.
Previous studies have found that a daily dose of Truvada, a Health-Canada approved preventative oral medication, could reduce HIV acquisition in men who have sex with men by 44 percent, or as much as 99 percent with high adherence.
The model developed at St. Michael’s suggests that over 20 years, PrEP use in 25, 50, 75 and 100 percent of the highest risk gay men would prevent 1,166, 2,154, 2,816 and 3,012 new HIV infections, and 70, 117, 137, and 140 HIV-associated deaths respectively. The estimated cost of implementing PrEP would increase as more high-risk men used it, from $80 million with 25 percent PrEP coverage to $270 million with 100 percent PrEP coverage, Health Canal reports. Despite that cost, the study claims the health care system would save $11,359 per infection prevented with 100 percent coverage, Health Canal reports.