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PrEP has measurable benefits and fewer people are diagnosed with HIV


According to the HIV Monitoring Foundation (SHM), the number of new HIV diagnoses in the Netherlands in 2021 has declined in line with other years. An estimated 427 people were diagnosed with HIV last year. According to the Foundation prepFor the first time, a drug that people at high risk of HIV can take to prevent infection has become visible.

The number of new diagnoses in 2020 was initially estimated at 411, but has since been adjusted to 450. The foundation always makes estimates for its annual reports, explained Marc van der Valk, an epidemiologist at SHM. This is because new diagnoses are not always communicated to the Foundation immediately, and in some cases it may take several years.The figures for 2021 may also change in the future.

Of the 427 diagnoses last year, 250 were in men who have sex with men, 105 in men with other sexual orientations, and 72 in women. Thirteen people died of his AIDS, the disease caused by HIV.

Some men who have sex with men use PrEP. They are regularly tested for HIV because they are more often treated in outpatient clinics for sexually transmitted infections than other groups. If they do get the virus, they are diagnosed more quickly than other groups, who may take years to discover the infection. In 2021, the number of recent infections among men who have sex with men has “dropped sharply.” According to Van der Valk, researchers attribute it to her use of PrEP. “Some people who were infected with HIV early in the past are now adequately protected by PrEP,” explained Van der Valk.

According to the foundation, not everyone who wants to use PrEP still has access to the drug. Of those who became HIV-positive between 2018 and May of this year, 660 were not using her PrEP. Of these, 44 said they wanted to use the drug but could not get it. was four on the waiting list. Van der Valk said the number of people who wanted to use PrEP but actually got HIV may be higher. This is because not all medical institutions have registered his PrEP data for all diagnoses.

PrEP stands for Pre Exposure Prophylaxis. A combination of HIV inhibitors. People at high risk of contracting HIV can take PrEP to protect themselves from the virus. In addition to men who have sex with men, it includes transgender men or women who have sex with men, and some sex workers.



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