The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, released trial results for the use of Truvada as an additional means of preventing infection with the AIDS virus in gay men. Generically termed tenofovir plus emtricitabine, Truvada is a medication already in use for the treatment of AIDS.
The media statement on these trial results, published Nov. 23, 2010 by the CDC, include a statement from Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of the CDC National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD & TB Prevention: “These results represent a major advance in HIV prevention research. For the first time, we have evidence that a daily pill used to treat HIV is partially effective for preventing HIV among gay and bisexual men at high risk for infection, when combined with other prevention strategies. Given the heavy burden of HIV among gay and bisexual men, a new tool with potential additive benefit is exciting and welcome news.”
According to MSNBC.com, 33 million people worldwide are infected with the HIV virus and 25 million people have died as a result of AIDS since the 1980s.
The United Nations issued a report Nov. 23, 2010 reporting that statistics reveal that the AIDS epidemic has slowed within the past decade, with a drop of 20 percent in new infections. South Africa, the nation with more HIV-infected people than any other, experienced a 25 percent drop in new infections during the same time period.
AIDS Prophylaxis Precautions
Fenton cautions that the use of Truvada–or any other medication–should not be the first line of defense against the AIDS virus. Use of condoms and other previous preventative strategies are still needed to prevent HIV infection. The CDC cautions that this new information and use of Truvada will be followed by interim guidelines for health care providers and consumers about best-use practices for the medication.
In the mean time, men who have sex with men should continue to use condoms, have themselves and their partners tested for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases and limit the number of sexual partners.
To date, there is no evidence Truvada works in AIDS prevention in heterosexuals or intravenous drug users.
Sources: CDC Statement on Results of iPrEx Trial Examining Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEp) for HIV Prevention among Men Who Have Sex with Men, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nov. 23, 2010
“Daily Pill Can Cut AIDS Risk for Gay Men, Study Finds,” MSNBC.com News Wire, Nov. 23, 2010
UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2010, United Nations, Nov. 23, 2010