Sexual health services need to be strengthened for PrEP users
Source: Mirage News, 3 January 2020
However, a global study co-led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Monash University in Australia, has shown that people who are seeking PrEP to prevent HIV are also at high risk of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Supported by the World Health Organization, the study, published in JAMA Open Network, suggests PrEP services could be an ideal place to test for, prevent and treat both HIV and other STIs.
The review highlights the limited focus and investment in STI management within HIV programmes. It found that a quarter (24%) of people initiating PrEP were diagnosed with either chlamydia, gonorrhoea or syphilis before they started taking PrEP. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of those continuing to use PrEP were diagnosed with either chlamydia, gonorrhoea or syphilis within a year of starting PrEP.
The research team found that the same factors that place people at substantial risk for HIV, such as low condom use, barriers to accessing or using condoms and having more than one sexual partner, also increase their risk for acquiring other STIs.