New HIV prevention pill producing encouraging results

According to findings of two recently conducted studies, a pill meant for preventing HIV infections in high-risk population seems to be delivering desired results.

During the first study, which was conducted in the San Francisco region, researchers found that none of the 657 individuals taking the daily pill called Truvada developed HIV infections. The other study which had a group of Truvada users in the UK as participants, on the other hand, revealed that the pill lowers one’s risk of getting diagnosed with HIV.

For those who don’t know: Truvada is a medicine manufactured by pharmaceutical firm Gilead and has been approved by the US FDA for PrEP or Pre-exposure prophylaxis of HIV, the virus responsible for causing AIDS.

The US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recently revealed that Truvada might lower one’s chances of having HIV infection by up to 92%. However, the pill doesn’t possess the ability to offer protection against other STIs (sexually transmitted infections).

It’s true that Truvada worked pretty well during highly control clinical trials conducted to compare the pill with a placebo. Still, some people were not sure whether it will be as effective when used in a real-world setting.

As mentioned above the study conducted in San Francisco area had 657 participants, each of whom was representative of the Kaiser Permanente health systems. They belonged to age groups ranging between 20 and 68 years and were mostly bisexual and gay men. These participants were given Truvada from 2012 to 2015.

None of these participants developed new HIV infections during the course of the study. However, 50% of them did develop new STIs.

Researchers conducting the other study found that the number of cases of new HIV infections was much lower among gay men starting on PrEP than gay men who waited one year before starting to take the pill.

Among the individuals on PrEP, two to three people out of 100 developed HIV infections per year. Among the individuals who got late access to the pill, the number was as high as nine cases of HIV infections per 100 participants every year.

Researchers conducting the second study said that two-third of the people who developed HIV infection in spite of taking PrEP were most likely already infected when the study began.