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Preparing for PrEP: estimating the size of the population eligible for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis among men who have sex with men in England

Abstract

Objectives The size of the population of men who have sex with men (MSM) who may be eligible for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (HIV-PrEP) in England remains unknown. To plan for a national PrEP implementation trial, we estimated the number of MSM attending sexual health clinics (SHCs) that may be eligible for HIV-PrEP in England.

Methods Sexually transmitted infection (STI) surveillance data from 2010 to 2015 from the GUMCAD surveillance system were used to estimate the annual number of HIV-negative MSM who may be eligible for HIV-PrEP in England. Based on national eligibility criteria, we identified HIV-negative MSM attending SHCs with a HIV-negative test in the past year and used diagnosed bacterial STI (past year) in this group as a proxy for condomless sex and eligibility for HIV-PrEP. We estimated HIV incidence per 100 person-years (py) in these groups in 2014.

Results During 2010–2015, the number of HIV-negative MSM attending SHCs with a HIV-negative test in the past year doubled from 14 643 to 29 023, and HIV incidence in this group was 1.9 (95% CI 1.6 to 2.2) per 100 py in 2014. In the same period, the subgroup with a bacterial STI diagnosis (past year), and therefore considered potentially eligible for HIV-PrEP in this analysis, increased from 4365 (30%) to 10 276 (35%). HIV incidence in this subgroup was 3.3 (95% CI 2.7 to 4.0) per 100 py in 2014.

Conclusions In 2015, approximately 10 000 HIV-negative MSM were considered potentially eligible for HIV-PrEP based on clinic history in GUMCAD. These data were used to inform the initial recruitment target for the PrEP Impact Trial and will inform future evaluations at a population level.

  • gay men
  • HIV
  • surveillance
  • policy
  • public health
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