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HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis and its implementation in the PrEP Impact Trial in England

a pragmatic health technology assessment



HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is highly effective in preventing HIV acquisition. To enable routine commissioning of PrEP in England, we aimed to establish population need, duration of need, PrEP uptake, and duration of use in attendees of sexual health services (SHS) in England.


The Impact Trial was a prospective, open-label, single-arm, multicentre trial conducted at 157 SHS across England between Oct 13, 2017, and July 12, 2020. Clinicians assessed HIV-negative attendees for their risk of HIV acquisition to identify those who were eligible to participate and receive either daily or event-based oral PrEP (tenofovir disoproxil maleate with emtricitabine), as appropriate. Eligible participants were aged 16 years or older, considered HIV-negative on the day of enrolment, and willing to adhere to the trial procedures. Non-trial attendees are mutually exclusive of trial participants and included SHS attendees who were not recruited to the Impact Trial at any point. They include HIV-negative individuals aged 16 years or older who attended a participating SHS at least once after recruitment at that SHS had begun and before Feb 29, 2020. The main outcomes assessed were PrEP need, uptake, and use, and HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) incidence. Data are presented up to Feb 29, 2020, before the introduction of COVID-19 control measures. The study is registered with, NCT03253757.


In this analysis, we include 21 356 of 24 268 participants enrolled before Feb 29, 2020. 20 403 participants (95·5%) were men who have sex with men (MSM). Uptake of PrEP among SHS attendees clinically assessed and coded as eligible was 21 292 (57·1%) of 37 289. 18 400 trial participants had at least one post-enrolment visit and a median of 361 days of follow-up (IQR 143–638); 14 039 (75·9%) of these had enough PrEP prescribed to provide protection for 75% of their follow-up time. Among MSM, HIV incidence was 0·13 (95% CI 0·08–0·19) per 100 person-years in trial participants (27 seroconversions) and 0·95 (95% CI 0·88–1·03) per 100 person-years in non-trial attendees (587 seroconversions; proportionate reduction of 86·8%, 95% CI 80·2–91·6). 18 607 bacterial STIs were recorded (incidence 68·1 per 100 person-years in trial participants who were MSM). 4343 (24·4%) MSM participants were diagnosed with two or more STIs, accounting for 14 800 (79·5%) of all 18 607 diagnoses.


PrEP need was higher than initially estimated by an expert stakeholder group. The high proportion of follow-up time protected by PrEP suggests that the need for protection persisted throughout trial participation for most participants. HIV incidence among MSM trial participants was low. The large unmet need for PrEP suggests that greater provision is required to maximise the potential of a national programme. The high incidence of bacterial STIs among participants, concentrated within a subgroup of PrEP users, presents an opportunity for tailored STI control measures.

Funding NHS England.

HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis and its implementation in the PrEP Impact Trial in England
HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis and its implementation in the PrEP Impact Trial in England

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