Gays: Drug Study Sees Up to 92 Percent Cut in HIV Risk
July 21, 2011
Oral emtricitabine/tenofovir (FTC/TDF, branded as Truvada) taken daily to prevent HIV infection is most effective in patients who have the highest levels of the drugs in their blood, according to a late-breaking study presented Wednesday at the conclusion of the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Rome.
In November, the iPrEx study reported on the efficacy of daily FTC/TDF used as pre-exposure HIV prophylaxis (PrEP) among 2,499 sexually active, non-HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM), and male-to-female transgender individuals who have sex with men. Overall, PrEP reduced HIV infection risk by 43.8 percent compared to placebo (36 HIV infections/1,251 on PrEP vs. 64 infections/1,248 on placebo).
However, in the subset of participants with the highest concentrations of FTC/TDF in their blood, the risk of HIV infection was 92 percent lower compared with placebo, Dr. Robert Grant, of the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology in San Francisco, and colleagues reported Wednesday.
Blood levels of FTC/TDF are tied to adherence as well as how well the drug is absorbed. Among seroconverters, lack of drug resistance or viral suppression indicated low PrEP exposure, the study authors reported.
"PrEP is an important HIV prevention tool with the potential to prevent significant numbers of new HIV infections," said Grant. "These data confirm that PrEP is safe and effective in MSM, one of the populations most affected by HIV worldwide."
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