Implementation and Operational Research: A Cost-Effective, Clinically Actionable Strategy for Targeting HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis to High-Risk Men Who Have Sex With Men

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Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is effective at preventing HIV infection among men who have sex with men (MSM), but there is uncertainty about how to identify high-risk MSM who should receive PrEP.


We used a mathematical model to assess the cost-effectiveness of using the HIV Incidence Risk Index for MSM (HIRI-MSM) questionnaire to target PrEP to high-risk MSM. We simulated strategies of no PrEP, PrEP available to all MSM, and eligibility thresholds set to HIRI-MSM scores between 5 and 45, in increments of 5 (where a higher score predicts greater HIV risk). Based on the iPrEx, IPERGAY, and PROUD trials, we evaluated PrEP efficacies from 44% to 86% and annual costs from $5900 to 8700. We designate strategies with incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) ≤$100,000/quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) as “cost-effective.”


Over 20 years, making PrEP available to all MSM is projected to prevent 33.5% of new HIV infections, with an ICER of $1,474,000/QALY. Increasing the HIRI-MSM score threshold reduces the prevented infections, but improves cost-effectiveness. A threshold score of 25 is projected to be optimal (most QALYs gained while still being cost-effective) over a wide range of realistic PrEP efficacies and costs. At low cost and high efficacy (IPERGAY), thresholds of 15 or 20 are optimal across a range of other input assumptions; at high cost and low efficacy (iPrEx), 25 or 30 are generally optimal.


The HIRI-MSM provides a clinically actionable means of guiding PrEP use. Using a score of 25 to determine PrEP eligibility could facilitate cost-effective use of PrEP among high-risk MSM who will benefit from it most.

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