Reports have emerged that a participant in Victoria’s pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) trial has seroconverted and become HIV-positive.

In a statement by the Victorian AIDS Council, it has been suggested there are two ways this may have occurred: either the person didn’t strictly adhere to their PrEP regimen, or they came into contact with a HIV-positive person with a detectable viral load who had a strain of the virus resistant to PrEP.

Cheif Executive of VAC Simon Ruth said despite the news, the vast majority of people taking PrEP in Australia and around the world continue to be protected by the HIV prevention tool.

“Currently there are over 100,000 individuals who are taking PrEP globally as a way to protect themselves against HIV acquisition,” he said.

“To date there have been no confirmed cases in Australia of a person on PrEP being infected with a drug-resistant HIV.

“There have been no reported occurrences of widespread PrEP failure here or around the world where in many locations PrEP is approved and subsidised.”

He added that it’s important to consider all options when it comes to HIV prevention.

“It is important that gay men and all people at risk of HIV infection consider and decide on the best way to protect themselves from the range of safe-sex options available to them.”

Globally there have only been three cases wherein a person has seroconverted while on PrEP. If the Melbourne case is confirmed to be due to a drug-resistant strain of HIV, the Melbourne diagnosis will become the fourth.

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