- According to the world’s first study to measure the impact of Gilead Sciences Inc’s Truvada pill on reducing the AIDS-causing virus in a large population, new cases of HIV among gay and bisexual men fell by almost a third to the lowest on record.
Highlights of the news
- The antiviral pill taken daily by thousands of men across Sydney and other parts of Australia led to a globally unprecedented reduction in new HIV cases, showing that a targeted, preventative approach may accelerate progress on ending the AIDS epidemic.
- These numbers are the lowest on record since HIV surveillance began in 1985.
- The results may pave the way for other states and countries to stop transmission of the virus with the use of a treatment called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.
- Progress against AIDS over the past 15 years has inspired a commitment by UN member states to end the epidemic by 2030.
- The number of people newly infected with HIV fell to 1.8 million worldwide in 2017, from more than 3 million a year through most of the 1990s.
- While the study results can’t be generalized to indicate similar efficacy in heterosexual populations, they do demonstrate that PrEP is “highly cost-effective” in certain high-risk groups.
About Pre-exposure prophylaxis/PrEP
- Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at substantial risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day.
- The pill (brand name Truvada) is used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV.
- When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.
- When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%.
- PrEP is much less effective if it is not taken consistently.
About Truvada Pill
- The blue, oval-shaped pill is a fixed-dose combination of the drugs tenofovir, disoproxil and emtricitabine.
- Generic versions of Truvada made by Mylan NV, Cipla Ltd. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. have made the medication available more cheaply.