Health Council of the Netherlands issues positive PrEP advice

27 March 2018

In a report published today, the Health Council of the Netherlands recommends making pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) available to men who have sex with men (MSM) and who are at increased risk of acquiring HIV. The Health Council expects that the introduction of PrEP could importantly contribute to reducing the number of new infections among people at risk of acquiring HIV.

Stichting HIV Monitoring reported that, in 2016, approximately 800 people were newly diagnosedwith HIV, a significant proportion (around 40 percent) of whom had evidence of an already longstanding HIV infection. The estimated number of new, i.e. more recently-acquired, HIV infections was approximately 500, around 80 percent of which were among MSM.

The report also stresses the need for proper medical support to guarantee safe PrEP use, in addition to regular testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and monitoring of possible resistance.  Finally, the Health Council advises careful monitoring of the long-term effects of PrEP, with an evaluation after 5 years.

Stichting HIV Monitoring’s director Peter Reiss says: “We welcome this recommendation and are confident that, when combined with other strategies such as ongoing promotion of condom use, increased HIV testing, early HIV diagnosis and treatment, PrEP will contribute to achieving a significant reduction in the rate of new HIV infections among MSM in the Netherlands”.