CDC recommends antiretroviral prophylaxis for people at risk for HIV

May 16, 2014

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that Americans at high risk for HIV take the antiretroviral drug Truvada daily as a prophylactic to prevent infection. Truvada, manufactured by Gilead Sciences, has been shown in three studies to significantly reduce the infection risk. In one study, known as iPrEX (Chemoprophylaxis for HIV Prevention in Men), 99% of the 2,499 gay men enrolled were shown to be protected if they took the drug daily.

Truvada is the only antiretroviral that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the drug regimen, called PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). The CDC is recommending PrEP for use by HIV-negative people who have sex with infected partners, inject drugs or share needles, are heterosexuals with high-risk partners, or are male homosexuals who do not use condoms. The CDC is endorsing the regimen in conjunction with condom use; some health officials are concerned, however, that an unintended consequence of the recommendation may be a reduction in the use of condoms by people who think they are “protected” by Truvada.

The drug is considered to be relatively safe and to have few side effects, though liver and kidney damage have been reported in rare cases. For that reason, people on the regimen will need not only periodic HIV tests, but monitoring of BUN/creatinine clearance and liver function testing. Read a CDC Feature, “PrEP for HIV Prevention”

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