The first of a two-part series about PrEP’s relevance to African American men who have sex with men.
In what has been described as a "major breakthrough," the daily use of an antiretroviral drug by HIV-negative gay and bisexual men has been proved to dramatically reduce new HIV infections.
The results of the clinical trials involving Truvada lend hope to the new prevention technology known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (pdf), or PrEP. The initial study results were announced in November 2010. Updated data were presented during February at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections and at a daylong meeting organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both meetings took place in Boston.
The number one question on everyone’s mind at the conferences: How do you move PrEP from the pages of scientific journals to a viable, easily accessible option?
"And how do you implement it for the number one risk group for HIV/AIDS: African American men who have sex with men?" asks Detroit-based Hank Milbourne, director of prevention services at AIDS Partnership Michigan.
The study–read an abstract here–found that men taking Gilead Sciences’ Truvada were 43.8 percent less likely to become infected than those taking a placebo. The data revealed even higher levels of protection from HIV infection, up to 73 percent, among participants who adhered most closely to the daily drug regimen.
PrEP opens a new line of attack in HIV prevention, especially among those who may not be wearing condoms "because they sell sex, are in danger of prison rape, are under pressure from partners or lose their inhibitions when drunk or high," reports The New York Times.
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