Does PrEP Stop HIV in Its Tracks?
Highlight From 6th IAS Conference on Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention
Last year, studies CAPRISA 004 and iPrEx found large decreases in the risk of HIV infection with the use of the HIV medication tenofovir, taken orally or topically (via skin). Such a strategy is called PrEP, for pre-exposure prophylaxis (prevention). At IAS, a poster presentation on the two studies suggested the possibility that tenofovir also may have stopped HIV infection while it was in progress.
In Poster MOLBPE035, CAPRISA and iPrEx researchers presented data on study participants who seroconverted to HIV. They went back to blood samples collected before these participants had been randomized in the study. Of the 20 individuals with acute pre-seroconversion HIV infection before randomization (out of 266 participants who had seroconverted), the majority (17) were in the study arms that had been given placebo instead of tenofovir. According to the poster, "Assignment to receive active topical or oral PrEP was associated with an 83% decrease in the detection of acute pre-seroconversion HIV infection at baseline: the reasons for the difference are unclear."
Acute pre-seroconversion infection was defined as having HIV RNA detection through viral load testing along with two negative antibody rapid tests. Antibodies, the body's response to pathogens such as HIV entering the body, take a while to develop.
According to the report, the efficacy data presented last year excluded these 20 individuals who were seroconverting before the studies began, and their data is "investigated in this report to understand how PrEP might affect the earliest stages of infection."
This article was provided by Test Positive Aware Network. It is a part of the publication Positively Aware. Visit TPAN's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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