A study carried on Truvada an antiretroviral drug developed by Gilead has found out that the drug can be used as an effective way of shielding men who have sex with each other from HIV. A study carried out by the French National HIV research agency found that Truvada could reduce the risk of HIV transmission by 86%. The findings of the study were presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic infections CROI in Seattle.
Truvada was approved in 2012 as a daily pill for preventing HIV in High-risk groups. Since its approval, it has been prescribed as a preventive measure taken as once a day regimen and not one that could be effective if taken just in time for sex. Truvada has been welcomed as a novel approach for combatting HIV infection, even though, latest evidence on the pre-exposure prophylaxis PrEP don’t change its guidelines.
The study according to, Jonathan Mermin, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for HIV/AIDS, shows that an event-driven regimen can be effective on men who have sex with men (MSM). The latest round of trial was started in February 2012 but was halted on October 2014 after an independent data safety review board had found it had high rates of effectiveness.
The study was carried out on 400 participants. Participants having sex on average of 10 times a month with eight partners every two months were considered high risk in relation to acquiring HIV. A number of participants were allowed to take Placebo while others took Truvada 2 to 24 hours before sex and then 24 to 48 hours after sex.
The research found that the PrEP reduced the risk of HIV by 86%. Previous studies had showed that Truvada could reduce the risk of HIV by as much as 92% in patients who took it regularly. It remains to be seen on further studies if the regimen could as well be effective in men who have sex less frequently.
It is also unclear according to Mermin whether Truvada can be effective in heterosexual men and women when taken in hours before sex and the two days afterwards. CDC, on the other hand, continues to recommend consumption of the drug as approved by the FDA on only daily use of PrEP.