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Setback on AIDS Drug Is Re-Evaluated

March 13, 2012

The participants of a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) trial in Africa that was stopped ahead of schedule last April may have had particularly poor adherence to the drug under study, scientists told the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, which concluded March 8 in Seattle.

In the study, HIV-negative heterosexual women in the intervention arm were to take a once-daily oral HIV pill combining tenofovir and emtricitabine (Truvada) in order to evaluate its effectiveness in preventing HIV infection. The trial was halted early because women were becoming infected anyway.

At the conference, scientists who had analyzed trial participants' blood samples found that only a quarter who became infected had any tenofovir/emtricitabine in their blood. That suggests they had failed to take the drug.

Researchers were uncertain why so few participants took the pill. However, stigma about AIDS is strong in Africa, and a bottle of AIDS pills at home could imply that someone there is sick, said Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, a prevention advocacy group.

In a different study, the drug helped prevent HIV infection among uninfected women in serodiscordant relationships.

In other conference news, researchers reported that a small British trial of injectable, once-a-month rilpivirine found it appeared safe and remained in the body long enough to be a promising HIV PrEP drug. That could help do away with the need to remember a daily pill for PrEP.

Back to other news for March 2012

Adapted from:
New York Times
03.09.2012; Donald G. McNeil Jr.

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.

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