The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative praised the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday for its work on a study demonstrating the use of antiretrovirals in the prevention of HIV infection.
The CDC, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Thailand Ministry of Public health recently released the results of a landmark study that demonstrated a 49 percent reduction in the risk of contracting HIV among intravenous drug users when taking an antiretroviral prior to exposure. The researchers gave drug users the oral antiretroviral medicine tenofovir disoproxil fumarate as part of a daily pre-exposure prophylaxis regimen to prevent infection with HIV.
PrEP was previously shown to be effective in reducing the risk of HIV infection among at-risk groups, such as heterosexual couples where one partner is infected with HIV, men who have sex with men and young heterosexually active women and men in high incidence settings. The CDC study is the first to show that PrEP can also offer protection for intravenous drug users.
The IAVI praised the work of the CDC and its partners to prove that PrEP can reduce HIV infection rates among a wider assortment of at-risk groups.
“Ongoing research into all aspects of HIV prevention and treatment is critical to end suffering and save lives, both today and moving forward,” the IAVI said. “The most long-term and effective approach to HIV prevention is to build a portfolio of as many proven tools as possible—such as condoms, PrEP, voluntary male circumcision, antiretroviral treatment for the HIV-infected partner in a couple, behavior change programs and, eventually, a vaccine—to stem the tide of infections permanently.”
IAVI is focused on the goal of creating an effective and safe AIDS vaccine and continues to explore approaches to developing the vaccine.