Mosaic effectiveness: measuring the impact of novel PrEP methods

David V. Glidden, Megha L. Mehrotra, David T. Dunn, Elvin H. Geng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Various ongoing trials seek to evaluate long-acting pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) agents by showing that they are non-inferior to daily oral tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine. Trials comparing oral PrEP to new methods examine effectiveness in a setting where only one or the other is provided; however, a new product will probably be delivered in a context where oral PrEP is also available. The effectiveness of a new PrEP product is best measured by its potential effect in a context that also includes oral tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine as an option. We offer an alternative standard for long-acting products—a measure of the effectiveness of the new product in addition to oral tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine as compared with oral PrEP alone. We term this measure mosaic effectiveness. We illustrate scenarios where a novel product can fail to show non-inferiority but show substantial mosaic effectiveness, thus implying the public health value of the novel product even if it is less effective than oral PrEP. Regulatory standards should consider mosaic effectiveness, not just comparative effectiveness. We assert that measurements that combine rigor with public health relevance can accelerate progress against the HIV epidemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e800-e806
JournalThe Lancet HIV
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2019


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