25 Mar 2022

Ending HIV transmission by Optimizing Pre-exposure prophylaxis in East Asia (HOPE) launch

Aim and methods of the HOPE network

Associate Professor Jason Ong was recently awarded $667,191 by the National Health and Medical Research Council for an NHMRC e-ASIA 2021 Joint Research Program, “Ending HIV transmission by Optimizing Pre-exposure prophylaxis in East Asia (HOPE)”.

The research program was launched this week. A/Prof Ong, a senior research fellow in the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, said that HIV is a very significant health issue in the Asia-Pacific region.

"We have effective tools to prevent HIV acquisition. The one we're focusing on is called PrEP, which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. PrEP is medicine people at risk for HIV take to prevent getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV. So we must optimize PrEP effectiveness.

"To address these challenges, we have engaged leaders in Thailand, the Philippines, USA to co-design solutions to optimize PrEP effectiveness together with local communities. 

"I am very much looking forward to working with our international leads Nittaya Phanuphak in Thailand, Marissa Alejandria and Nina Castillo-Carandang in The Phillipines, and Weiming Tang in the USA," said A/Prof Ong.

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