A statistically enormous drop in cases of HIV infection among gay men in London is being put down to the success of anti-HIV drug PrEP, with a 40 per cent year-on-year decline in infections being pinned on the internet shopping of its target users.
The numbers claim that four sexual health clinics in London saw infection rates drop by 40 per cent when comparing 2016 to 2015, with many thinking that hot new drug pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, the publicity surrounding it, and web sites offering to help people import it, is the reason why.
Will Nutland from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine certainly thinks so, and as he runs an advice site for people trying to buy the drug he should have a good idea of what's happening. He said: "We need to be very cautious at this stage, but I can’t see what else it can be. Something extraordinary has happened in the last 12 months because of a bunch of DIY activists working off our kitchen tables."
The NHS, fresh from losing a court case about the payment of PrEP, is currently running a trial in which 10,000 men are to be prescribed it, but with courses of generics available online from overseas for as little as £40 a month, some are just buying it right now. [New Scientist]