On the closing day of the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, some promising news on Tenofovir, a powerful antiretroviral previously reported on R20. A study presented by the Centers for Disease Control found that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with tenofovir is safe for men who have sex with men (MSM). Tenofovir is found in Viread, Truvada and Atripla.
PrEP is one of the most promising prevention tools on the immediate horizon. With PrEP, HIV-negative individuals take antiretroviral drugs to prevent becoming infected with the virus. The first PrEP studies are testing tenofovir alone (Viread), while several later studies are testing tenofovir plus emtricitabine (Truvada). For that study, CDC-4323, Lisa Grohskopf, MD, from the CDC and her colleagues enrolled 400 HIV-negative MSM...The study was not designed to determine whether tenofovir could prevent HIV transmission, only whether or not it was safe compared with a placebo. All of the men were tested for HIV regularly and received rigorous HIV prevention counseling and condoms throughout the study. Grohskopf and her colleagues found that men taking tenofovir had no more side effects than men taking a placebo.
The promising PrEP results follow a breakthrough tenofovir microbicide study that found significant reduction in HIV transmissions in women who used the vaginal gel. The gel could theoretically be used in anal sex, but that has not been tested.
Tenofovir is one of so-called HIV "morning after pills". The post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a cocktail of usually 3 or 4 anti-retoviral medications that must be taken after possible exposure to HIV and for up to 30 days. There are anecdotal reports that some gay men are taking "T" after a weekend of drug use and unprotected sex. More on PEP HERE and HERE.
Meanwhile: A "substantial" proportion of gay men say they "would reduce condom use" if pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) proves to be effective at preventing HIV, according to study released last month and presented at AIDS 2010.
The Centers for Disease Control is very bullish on the PrEP findings, especially the prevention possibilities for Black MSM. Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, talked with R20 at AIDS 2010 and we'll publish that interview soon.
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