On World AIDS Day, Tuesday 1 December 2015, the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL will be running a Twitter Q&A session about the PROUD Study and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
The PROUD Study, launched in 2012, enrolled over 500 gay and other men who have sex with men, who reported having condomless anal sex. Half of the participants were given PrEP immediately and the other half were offered PrEP after a year in the study, thereby allowing us to measure the number of HIV infections averted as a result of PrEP. PROUD found that PrEP reduced the risk of HIV infection by 86%, and no-one taking PrEP acquired HIV.
Gus Cairns, Editor of NAM, Prevention Co-ordinator for the European AIDS Treatment Group, and co-Chair of the PROUD Trial Steering Committee
Gus, 59, is a social worker and psychotherapist by training. His community activism started at Gay Switchboard in 1978. He has been living with HIV himself since 1985 and was one of the first generation to benefit from antiretroviral combination therapy. After recovering from AIDS, his first job was as Editor of the UK’s first magazine for people with HIV, Positive Nation. He has been an advocate for PrEP since first learning of it as a possibility in 2002. He lives in north London with his partner.
Mitzy Gafos, Social Scientist
Mitzy Gafos is a social scientist who has been working in HIV prevention trials since 2004. Mitzy was the Principal Investigator of the Microbicides Development Programme MDP 301 clinical trial at the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies, in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa for six years. Currently, Mitzy is the senior social scientist on the PROUD pilot study evaluating the use the pre-exposure prophylaxis as a HIV prevention option in England. She also coordinates the patient and public involvement (PPI) activities of the PROUD study which includes the involvement of study participants, as well as coordinating the studies communication activities.
Harry Dodd, PROUD study participant
Harry became a PROUD study participant in June 2013, having previously known nothing about the potential benefits of PrEP beforehand. Since then he has become an active advocate of the drug and passionately believes it should be made available on the NHS - and across the globe. Harry considered that PrEP offers not just protection from HIV, but personal liberation from fear and anxiety after sex and the opportunity to unite communities worldwide who are divided by this devastating disease.
Sheena McCormack, Clinician and HIV researcher
Professor Sheena McCormack has been coordinating HIV prevention trials since 1994. From the outset she worked on HIV vaccine trials in Europe and Africa. Since 1998 she has been involved in microbicide trials and is co-Principal Investigator of the Microbicides Development Programme (MDP), a multi-disciplinary public-private partnership. She was Chief Investigator of the Phase III clinical trial that enrolled 9,385 women through six research centres in Southern Africa and reported in 2009. She is a partner in several vaccine and microbicide networks and working with colleagues in the UK to determine the role of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis in the national strategy, leading the PROUD pilot study.
How to participate:
Our panellists will be answering questions from 12:45m to 1.30pm on Tuesday 1 December (GMT).
You can tweet within this 45 minute slot, or tweet your question before the session begins. If you would like to participate but are not on Twitter, you can also email us your questions in advance.
To ask a question, simply tweet using the hashtag #PROUDQandA. One of our panel will then reply to you from the @MRCCTU account. The person who is answering your question will put their initials at the start of their tweet, so you know who is talking.
After the event, we will be putting a summary online of the questions asked and our panellists' answers.