Truvada hailed as major AIDS prevention breakthrough

A prescription bottle of the AIDS prevention medication Truvada.

Regular use of Truvada decreased the risk of HIV infection by as much as 73 percent in an international study. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/My HIV Medication)

Recent research conducted on a group of 2,500 high-risk men showed that the use of the pill Truvada decreased the risk of HIV infection in gay men by up to 73 percent, reports the Los Angeles Times. While further study is necessary to determine whether Truvada will be as effective for other at-risk segments of the population, experts still believe this is a major breakthrough in AIDS prevention.

Truvada a triumphant follow-up to microbicidal gel

Just a few months before the Truvada study, an African study found that a microbicidal gel can protect women from contracting HIV. One year before that, a vaccine trial suggested that soon it may be possible to create antibodies to fight the AIDS virus.

A. Cornelius Baker of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS told the Los Angeles Times that the AIDS prevention research boom of recent years has carried humanity much close to a cure.

“To see all these prevention strategies come together, we can begin to see an end to the epidemic,” he said. “If we can prove this works and get this strategy into the communities, we can reach that goal much quicker than we had anticipated and move even further to more goals.”

Code name: iPrEx

The study that could lead to the incorporation of Truvada into a pre-exposure routine is called iPrEx. An international team of doctors and medical researchers conducted the study of 2,500 gay men, spread across six countries. Half the subjects were given Truvada daily, while the other half received a placebo. Not only did Truvada introduce few side effects, but after 14 months, HIV infections were reduced by 44 percent. Over time, in those subjects who continued to take Truvada regularly (90 percent or more of the days of the study), HIV risk decreased by 72.8 percent.

The proposed treatment strategy in which Truvada could play a major role is called pre-exposure prophylaxis. The technique has had a high success rate in dealing with diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. In the case of preventing the transmission of HIV, antiretroviral drugs are effective in preventing the spread of the disease from mother to infant during and after birth and to those people who are accidentally exposed in hospitals and laboratories.

Sources

Los Angeles Times

Day 1 with Truvada and Sustiva

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