Be-PrEP-ared

The Be-PrEP-ared study is a feasibility study of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, about the use of “Pre-Exposure Prophyphlaxis” (PrEP), as a potential addition to the existing HIV-prevention strategy in Belgium. In this study 200 men who have sex with men (MSM) will be followed up for 18 months, while using PrEP medication to reduce their risk of acquiring HIV. This website provides more information about PrEP, the study and the research team.

HIV among MSM

In Belgium, the number of new HIV-diagnoses among MSM has been rising steadily: the number of new HIV-diagnoses in 2013 was four times higher than in 1999. Almost 80% of those newly HIV-diagnosed men in 2013 had acquired HIV through unsafe sexual encounters with MSM. Therefore, HIV prevention among MSM is a central subject in this project.

A new prevention method: PrEP

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is considered to be one component of an HIV combination prevention strategy, comprising both medical and behavioural measures. PrEP has recently been introduced as a new method to reduce the number of HIV-infections. PrEp – usually a pill – uses antiretroviral drugs to prevent new HIV-infections among people with a high risk of acquiring such an HIV-infection. Recent studies in England (Proud-studie) and France (Ipergay-studie) demonstrated that PrEP can be highly efficacious in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV among MSM.

The study’s objective(s)

The objective of this study is to explore the extent to which the use of PrEP among MSM in Belgium is feasible and acceptable. We aim to gain insights into PrEP adherence, the experiences and attitudes of MSM concerning the use of PrEP and HIV prevention or prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as well as the effect of PrEP on other prevention methods (such as condoms) and STIs.

The study’s sponsers

The Be-PrEP-ared study is a demonstration project of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, supported by the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology, and the drugs were donated by Gilead.

Registrations

For this study we are recruiting 200 participants, only men who have sex with men who have a high risk of acquiring HIV. At this moment the number of registrations is sufficient to guarantee this number of participants. Therefore, the registration period has ended.

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Experiences & Opinions

As an organization that aims for optimal HIV prevention, we welcome this study. As in other West-European countries, the number of new HIV infections among gay men remains high. And PrEP would be an important additional measure for protection for a certain group of men.Chris Lambrechts – Director of Sensoa

We are glad for this study to be undertaken, because therefore PrEP can be integrated into the HIV prevention strategy in the long run. Particularly for a small group of gay men who have the intention to have safe sex, but in some circumstances however do have unsafe sex, PrEP offers extra protection. Every addiotional strategy to reduce the number of new infections needs to be studied.Jeroen Borghs – spokesman of çavaria

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