Update: NZPrEP Study

  • 📅6 July, 2016

We continue to work with Auckland Regional Sexual Health Services, Body Positive and University of Auckland School of Population Health on the PrEP pilot study.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP refers to the use of HIV medication by people who are HIV-negative in order to reduce their risk of HIV infection. For gay and bisexual men who struggle to maintain consistent condom-use for anal sex, PrEP offers a new way to reduce the risk of infection.

We believe that PrEP, if implemented alongside existing condom-promotion efforts and a scaled-up test and treat programme, can reduce the number of new HIV infections acquired in New Zealand. NZAF and our co-investigators are developing a PrEP pilot study, called NZPrEP, for gay and bisexual men who are at highest risk of HIV infection. One of the objectives of this pilot study is to provide good evidence of PrEP acceptability and implementation in New Zealand to support the case for funding from Pharmac. 

Update: July 2016

We have now had over 200 people register their interest for the NZPrEP study which is a great response. There hasn't been much to report in recent months as the study investigators have been awaiting funding approval from Gilead Sciences Inc. We are pleased to announce that the drugs and other associated clinical costs have now been funded for 150 study participants.

The next key milestone is receiving ethics approval from the Auckland District Health Board Ethics Committee. Once ethics approval has been received, the study investigators will be able to move forward and begin the work of making the study happen.

We are still seeking funding for associated research costs but we do not expect that this will impact significantly on the timeline. 

Meanwhile, if you are interested in study please register your name and contact information with us below so we can keep you informed as it progresses.

Update: February 2016

“We know many people are impatient to have access to PrEP", says NZAF Executive Director, Shaun Robinson. "We are determined to make PrEP available in New Zealand, initially through the pilot study with Auckland Sexual Health Service."

There is still no funding for the study and progress is slower than was originally anticipated. To expedite the process NZAF have negotiated with the Ministry of Health to allow us to divert some of our core funding for other HIV prevention activities into the PrEP pilot study. We are still reliant on Gilead to fund the costs of the drugs and other associated costs.

Update: October 2015

The World Health Organisation has now recommended that countries make PrEP available for high risk men. NZAF will keep pushing for PrEP to be available in New Zealand.

The New Zealand PrEP pilot study is not yet funded. Gilead, the manufacturer of Truvada, have indicated that they would fund the drug costs. The clinicians and researchers involved in the project are currently donating their time and doing this work around their usual duties. We are trying to source funds to cover the costs of the research and monitoring. 

 

Update: June 2015

NZAF and Auckland Sexual Health Service have agreed to develop a PrEP pilot study for New Zealand in partnership with Body Positive and the Gay Men's Sexual Health research group at University of Auckland.

Having received the green light from PHARMAC and the Ministry of Health to proceed with the study, we are now working through the details. Funding needs to be sourced various clinical and ethics approvals are required from the DHB.

The objective is to make PrEP available to people at high risk of HIV, through the sexual health service, to demonstrate the demand for PrEP in New Zealand and understand it's practical applications in our local health system. 

Although the Ministry of Health and PHARMAC have given the green light, they have not provided any funding for the cost of the drugs or the monitoring and research.