About the Author: Ambassador Eric Goosby serves as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.
In a statement released yesterday, President Obama hailed an important new development in the fight against HIV/AIDS: the findings of the iPrEx study on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for HIV prevention.
Prevention is the most fundamental challenge in the fight against AIDS. The United States is committed to supporting high-impact, evidence-based, combination prevention approaches. The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) recently held consultations with prevention experts from the academic, advocacy, and implementer community to get input on PEPFAR's HIV prevention programming. These consultations, as well as developments such as the rapid deployment of male circumcision, ongoing microbicide research such as the CAPRISA trial, and now the iPrEx study, have great potential to help us improve our prevention efforts and save more lives.
From the perspective of PEPFAR, we are greatly encouraged by the important step forward represented by the iPrEx study. PrEP has the potential to be a crucial addition to our prevention arsenal, particularly for populations at high risk of HIV infection. We congratulate our colleagues at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on this impressive result. More information is available from NIAID's press release, which is here.
We look forward to the additional steps that need to take place before the world can begin using this ARV-based PrEP. Several other ongoing trials will provide us with critical information to inform normative guidance on PrEP by the World Health Organization and others. While that work continues, PEPFAR will continue our own process to consider the wide range of considerations that PrEP will raise, so that we will be ready to provide guidance to our programs at the appropriate time.
Going forward, we all must welcome innovation to improve the impact of our prevention programs and save more lives. As we work to determine how each dollar invested through PEPFAR can produce the greatest results in terms of lives improved and saved, we look forward to exploring the potential of PrEP as another strategy in the prevention toolbox.