MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Study shows Truvada disrupts HIV transmission for high-risk patients

Scientists recently conducted a study showing that HIV transmission may be prevented when people at high risk for the infection take Truvada.

The study results demonstrated that people who received Truvada had an 86 percent decrease in the likelihood of contracting the infection, compared to the study subjects who had a placebo.

"The medication was taken as needed around periods of sexual activity. All study participants received regular HIV and STD prevention counselling and services, and stocks of condoms and lubricant," the University of Montreal and the CHUM Research Centre's Cécile Tremblay, who led the Canadian component of the research, said. "Indeed, this research looked specifically at men and transgender women at high-risk of HIV transmission, which we defined as persons having had unprotected anal sex with two or more different partners within a six-month period. This study clarifies the role Truvada can play in protecting this population."

The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, included 201 people in a placebo group and 199 in a Truvada group. Fourteen of the 201 in the placebo group contracted HIV, while none of the participants in the Truvada group contracted the infection.

"In both groups, participants took a median of 15 pills per month, demonstrating that they felt able to judge when the medication needed to taken," Tremblay said. "However, 28 percent of the participants did not take the pills at all and a further 29 percent took them at a suboptimal dose. Indeed, the two people in the medication group who became infected had not medicated themselves. Ensuring support for long-term adherence to the medication regime will be one of the challenges of working towards successful prevention amongst at-risk people."

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