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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 11, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 37
New 'real world' PrEP study shows 100% success rate
Section One
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New 'real world' PrEP study shows 100% success rate

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A new PrEP study by researchers at Kaiser Permanante Medical Center in San Francisco has shown a remarkable 100% success rate.

The findings, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, are based on more than 600 participants studied over a two-year period.

The average age of the study participants was 37, and 99% were Gay or Bisexual men. The average length of individual PrEP usage was 7.2 months.

The research was what is called an 'observational study.' In other words, research was done only with a test group, but without a control group. According to lead author Jonathan Volk, this was to test PrEP in a 'real world' context, not in the highly controlled atmosphere of a clinical trial.

'[It] suggests the treatment may prevent new HIV infections even in a high-risk setting,' Volk said.

'Until now, evidence supporting the efficacy of PrEP to prevent HIV infection had come from clinical trials and a demonstration project.'

Researchers found that although none of their PrEP subjects got HIV, 30% of participants did get a STI (sexually transmissible infection) within six months after the study started. This number then jumped to 50% after one year.

In addition, 41% admitted they used condoms less, compared to the 56% who said their use of condoms remained unchanged. This suggests that many used the drug as a way of not using condoms anymore, researchers said.

'Without a control group, we don't know if these STI rates were higher than what we would have seen without PrEP,' co-author Julia Marcus said.

'Ongoing screening and treatments for STIs, including hepatitis C, are an essential component of a PrEP treatment program.'

The fact that study participants were engaging in higher risk sexual behaviors - as evidenced by the STI rate - but still remained free of HIV infections argues for the effectiveness of PrEP.

Last year, the World Health Organization recommended that every single sexually active Gay and Bisexual man should be on PrEP.

On the other hand, AIDS Healthcare Foundation CEO Michael Weinstein opposes PrEP, calling it a 'party drug' that discourages Gay men from using condoms.

The antiretroviral drug Truvada was approved for use in PrEP therapy in 2012.

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