World Health Organisation say PrEP services could reduce other STIs
July 23 2019
Representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO) have released the results of an extensive review, highlighting an opportunity for PrEP programs to bring down incidences of other STIs with better integration and coordination.
Speaking at the 10th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science in Mexico City, Dr Jason Ong of Monash University says that while research surrounding PrEP and STIs still focuses on men who have sex with men in high-income countries, the treatment services could make gains in low and middle-income nations.
WHO’s investigation of 88 studies showed that STI prevalance has been high in people seeking PrEP – with 24% having gonorrhoea, chlamydia and/or early syphilis. It also exposed high incidences of people using PrEP, with chlamydia reaching 21% among PrEP users as opposed to a global average of approximately 3%.
Dr Ong says that the prevalence of STIs among those seeking or using PrEP shows the importance of screening and treatment.
“PrEP programmes can be a gateway for empowering comprehensive sexual health services,” Dr Ong said.
Diagnostic tests for STIs are prohibitively expensive in many countries, while many services will only treat people exhibiting symptoms, other speakers noted.
WHO representatives suggested that the high STI rates in people using PrEP should inform policy makers, healthcare providers and activists to create better services.