HIV medicines or pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) for MSM

Globally, the HIV epidemic continues to represent a pressing public health issue. Men having sex with men (or MSM) could be considered as a very high risk population for acquiring HIV. An increase of new HIV diagnoses is reported among MSM in Europe, and almost one third of those infected are estimated to be unaware of their seropositive status[1]. According to the scientific literature, an increase of high risk sexual practices (such as unprotected anal intercourse) has been reported among MSM across Europe.

According to the Centre for Communicable Diseases and AIDS, 8.3% of all people with HIV in Lithuania have been infected by homosexual intercourse. According to an international study, knowledge of Lithuanian homosexuals about HIV infection and its transmission routes and protective measures is good enough, but their behavior is risky: in the last 12 months every second had an unsafe anal sex with a casual partner, every tenth had more than 10 partners. In consideration of research and epidemiological data in Lithuania, it is advisable to consider the possibilities of applying pre-exposure HIV prophylaxis or PrEP among homosexuals (for men who have sex with men). Pre-exposure prophylaxis is the use an antiretroviral medication to prevent the acquisition of HIV infection by uninfected persons. PrEP may either be taken orally, using an antiretroviral drug available for treatment of HIV infection, or topically as a vaginal gel containing tenofovir. From September 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the PrEP to people at high risk of HIV infection to provide additional HIV prevention choices as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention effort. In the WHO guidelines, PrEP was recommended to men who have sex with men. Later the number of recommended risk groups has increased.

More information about PrEP: World Health Organization link here.







[1] More information is available in: “Bio-behavioral HIV and STI surveillance among men who have sex with men in Europe: the Sialon II protocols” here