The Centers for Disease Control announced today that drugs used to treat HIV infections provide additional protection against initial exposure for gay and bisexual men. According to a CDC press release, a National Institutes of Health study indicates an average of 44 percent additional protection for those who do not have HIV and take the once-daily pill Truvada.
The approach is called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP.
“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,” Dr. Kevin Fenton, M.D., Director, CDC National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD & TB Prevention said.
CDC says HIV treatment drugs can aid disease prevention
“Given the heavy burden of HIV among gay and bisexual men, a new tool with potential additive benefit is exciting and welcome news.
“Today’s results are exciting, but it is not time for anyone to stop using condoms or stop following proven prevention methods. Today’s trial results show that PrEP is partially effective and does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.”
The CDC, based in Atlanta, states it will work with health care providers to determine the best way to maximize PrEP’s effectiveness. The CDC also points out that PrEP should not be the only line of defense against contraction and recommends continued use of condoms and other means of protection against HIV.
In a press release, President Obama praised the research.
“I am encouraged by this announcement of groundbreaking research on HIV prevention. While more work is needed, these kinds of studies could mark the beginning of a new era in HIV prevention. As this research continues, the importance of using proven HIV prevention methods cannot be overstated,” Obama said.
For more information, please visit the CDC’s website here: www.cdc.gov