An increase in condomless sex was reported by 45% of 90 PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) users who were part of an HIV care and prevention program in San Francisco. At the same time, there were no new HIV infections among the more than 500 total PrEP users in the program, which is run by Kaiser Permanente.
The survey results, reported in the San Francisco Business Times, are preliminary and based on a very small sample, but they add to the controversy surrounding PrEP.
While some may point to the 45% statistic as evidence of "risk compensation," it is important to note that there was no control group of patients not on PrEP to compare to. Moreover, how many times each of these patients actually had condomless sex is also unknown.
Ultimately, condomless sex may put individuals at risk for other sexually transmitted infections, but there were no new HIV infections among all patients in the program.
"[PrEP] is used to prevent HIV -- and that seems to be working," said Brad Hare, M.D., director of the program, according to the report.