Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and the Promise of Combination Prevention Approaches

Published: February 18, 2011

The results of the CAPRISA 004 and iPrEx HIV prevention studies have demonstrated that topical or systemic use of antiretroviral agents can significantly reduce the risk of HIV acquisition associated with unprotected vaginal or anal sexual intercourse. However, the effect size in these studies was relatively modest and product adherence was generally poor. These observations suggest the need for new approaches to HIV prevention, especially for high risk MSM. Rates of lubricant use are high in MSM practicing receptive anal sex. Consequently, the development of an antiretroviral rectal microbicide gel may provide a safe and effective means of preventing HIV infection with an intervention that is likely to have high acceptability among the target population. The purpose of this  Abstract
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention is a promising experimental approach currently being tested globally. A number of PrEP trials are evaluating the safety and effectiveness of PrEP in men who have sex with men (MSM) and other populations at risk for HIV, and results will be available from this first generation of efficacy trials over the next few years. Here we review the rationale for orally-administered antiretrovirals for prevention, and outline issues the first generation trials will address as well as questions that may be addressed in future studies. We also describe the rationale for combination prevention approaches that may combine PrEP with other prevention modalities as part of a larger prevention package.

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