Taking HIV prevention pill may not encourage risky sex: Study
Chicago: Taking a pill as a preventive measure against HIV infection may not encourage people at high risk for the disease to engage in risky sexual behavior, according to a new U.S. study meant to address fears about its use.
The research, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLOS ONE, builds on the 2010 landmark study that found Gilead Sciences Inc's Truvada - a pill already used widely to treat the human immunodeficiency virus - was more than 90 percent effective at preventing HIV infections among test subjects who took the drug as prescribed.
It is the latest to look at whether taking a pill to prevent infections could lead to "risk compensation," or an adjustment to their behavior in response to their perceived level of risk.
"There has been a concern that really anything we do to prevent HIV in high-risk individuals could lead people to feel more secure and have riskier sex," said Dr. Robert Grant of the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology in San Francisco, one of the study's authors.
Grant's lab went back to its landmark iPrEx trial, a three-year study involving nearly 2,500 HIV-negative gay men and male-to-female transgendered women in six countries.
The team looked specifically at a population of patients in the study who believed the treatment was working to see if risky behavior increased. They found rates of new HIV infections fell by 400 percent. Syphilis rates, a common sexually transmitted infection, also dropped.
Grant said there was no increase in sexual risk behavior, and the study even showed a trend toward safer sexual practices.
The findings were similar in a study published in October in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, which looked at Truvada in heterosexual couples where one person is infected and the other is not. In this study, however, there was a slight uptick in unprotected sex with outside partners.
Dr. Myron Cohen, director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the trials aren't likely to prove what might happen if the drug were to be used in a much larger population that was not under such close scrutiny.
"In general, it remains an open question about if you rolled out PrEP to a very large number of people what the long-range public health implications would be," he said.
Truvada is one of several strategies called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, an experimental approach to HIV prevention where HIV negative people take HIV drugs to try to prevent infections. Besides Truvada, other PrEP methods being studied include long-acting injections, gels and vaginal rings.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 500,000 high-risk individuals could benefit from the drug, but uptake has been slow.
A Gilead survey of Truvada use presented in September showed that only about 2,000 uninfected people in the United States are taking the drug to prevent HIV infection.
Nearly 1.2 million people in the United States live with HIV, and new infections are estimated at 50,000 each year.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Zee Media's mega survey on Modi govt
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- MP: 14-year-old boy works as bonded labour since 2009
- UP: Man chops off wife's nose, hair for dowry
- Zee Media Exclusive: The plight of yoga expert Tejaswi Sharma
- Woman denied flat in Mumbai for being a Muslim
- 4 Indians in Forbes' 100 most powerful women list
- BBV: What challenges lie ahead of Modi govt?
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads
- DNA analysis of rising water crisis in India!
- DNA: Delhi shop owners express their plight through Zee initiative 'My News'
- Watch: Zee Media mega survey on Modi govt- Part 2
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads- Part II
- Heatwave continues in India, death toll climbs to over 1,400
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced today
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- I was misquoted, says Kiren Rijiju on 'beef' remark
- First look: Salman Khan steals thunder in `Bajrangi Bhaijaan`
- mahresult.nic.in updated with MSBSHSE Maharashtra HSC Class XII Result 2015
- Manmohan Singh defends himself on 2G charge, slams Modi govt for 'carbon copy' schemes
- Sonia Gandhi 'unconstitutional authority' during UPA: PM Narendra Modi
- Check cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in for CBSE Class 10 Result 2015
- Hours after attacking NDA govt, Manmohan Singh meets PM Narendra Modi
- Reservation stir: Five percent job quota to Gujjars unlikely, hints Rajasthan govt
- PMO website revamped, now send e-mail to PM Modi directly
- Death toll climbs to over 1400 as intense heatwave continues in India
- First look: Aamir Khan joins Shah Rukh to promote Salman's ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’