HIV Protection Breakthrough: The Miracle Pill That Will Reduce The Risk of HIV Infection

By Wayne Parker, Parent Herald July 19, 10:37 am

Eligible bisexual men and gay, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meet any of these three criteria: they have unsafe sex in a monogamous relationship with a partner who is not recently tested for HIV, or they have unsafe sex with someone outside of their monogamous relationship, or they have any unsafe sex with somebody who is HIV positive.

As published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, getting the miracle drug to 40% of high-risk gay and bisexual men would consequently prevent 1,162 infections among them for the next ten years. Manufactured by Gilead, this drug is also called Truvada as cited on Reuters.

A combination of 2 antiretroviral drugs, the miracle pill works to keep the human immunodeficiency virus from reproducing in the body. Truvada, which was approved in 2012 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is often called as PrEP that stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis.

"We were all interested in estimating the public health impact and efficiency of PrEP," Samuel Jenness said as cited on Fox News. Samuel Jenness, from Emory University in Atlanta, is the lead author of said research. Jenness and his team emphasize that PrEP is 92% effective in the prevention of HIV infections.

Jenness and his colleagues employed a mathematical model, which accounted for HIV transmission rates among gay and bisexual men, in order to find out how the miracle pill might curb the cases of infections over the next ten years.

Using the said model and comparing to a scenario wherein the miracle pill was unavailable, the researchers ran several scenarios and discovered that getting Truvada to 40% eligible men, with 62% taking it daily, would remarkably prevent 33% of expected infections among bisexual and gay men in the United States for the next ten years.

Getting Truvada to 10% of eligible gay and bisexual men would prevent almost 11% of expected new infections. But researchers believed that increasing coverage up to 90% would definitely avert about half of cases.

Furthermore, the research team says that in a scenario in which 40% percent of eligible men take the miracle pill, having 25 men taking Truvada on a daily basis would certainly put off one new HIV infection.

The researchers added that counseling men on the adherence to the daily intake of the miracle pill would eventually maximize the public health investment by cutting the number of men needed to treat to avert one infection. But only 5% to 10% bisexual and gay men take Truvada, Jenness told Reuters Health.

An HIV expert said, in an editorial published with the study, that he is unsure if it is really possible to get 40% of men to take Truvada. "However, PrEP studies from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and other high-income countries are showing that those who seek out PrEP have substantial HIV risk and adhere well, resulting in near elimination of HIV acquisition," writes Dr. Jared Baeten of the University of Washington in Seattle.

But Dr. Baeten believed that the results clearly reveal the eligible gay and bisexual men currently starting Truvada are actually good candidates.

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