Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

No link between HIV-prevention pill Truvada, increased sexual risk behavior

Date:
December 18, 2013
Source:
Gladstone Institutes
Summary:
In 2012, the HIV antiretroviral drug Truvada became the first and only medication approved by the FDA for HIV prevention. The research behind this was hailed as an important step towards reducing the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic. Now, a new study provides further proof that regular Truvada use can reduce one's risk for contracting HIV -- without increasing sexual risk behavior.

In 2012 the HIV antiretroviral drug Truvada became the first and only medication approved by the FDA for HIV prevention. Led by Gladstone Institutes' Investigator Robert Grant, MD, MPH, this research was hailed as an important step towards reducing the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic. Now, a new study provides further proof that regular Truvada use can reduce one's risk for contracting HIV -- without increasing sexual risk behavior.

This research, published today in the online journal PLOS ONE, builds on the 2010 Global iPrEx clinical study, which reported that Truvada, an FDA-approved drug used for years to treat HIV-positive patients, could also prevent new infections in people likely to come in contact with the virus. Lending further support to Truvada's efficacy, a 2012 follow-up study found that taking Truvada regularly reduced risk of HIV infection by more than 90%.

Questions about the drug's real-world effectiveness remained, however, particularly concerning the issue of whether taking the drug could lead to a behavioral effect called risk compensation. Risk compensation is the notion that individuals adjust their behavior in response to a change in their perceived level of risk -- such as increasing exposure to the sun in response to sunscreen use. While iPrEx participants did self-report decreases in sexual risk behavior over the course of the study, Dr. Grant and his team decided to examine those findings more closely, by studying biological markers of risk behavior.

"After the initial iPrEx study, there was concern that self-reported behavior may not tell the whole story," said Dr. Grant, who is also a professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), with which Gladstone is affiliated. "Here, we not only gathered behavioral data, but we also tested each participant for both HIV and syphilis -- allowing us to map over time how reported changes in overall behavior correlated with actual changes in infection rates."

The multi-year iPrEx study enrolled nearly 2500 men and transgender women in Peru, Ecuador, South Africa, Brazil, Thailand and the United States at risk for HIV infection. Half of the participants were given Truvada, while the other half were given a placebo. Unaware as to whether they were being given Truvada or the placebo, participants were also asked whether they believed they were receiving Truvada -- and whether they thought it was working.

"If risk compensation were occurring, those who believed they were receiving Truvada and that it was effective would be more likely to increase their sexual risk behavior," explained Julia Marcus, PhD, MPH, the paper's first author. "However, our results revealed the opposite: rates of both HIV and syphilis infections went down, and there was no increase in sexual risk behavior."

"Our results suggest that HIV prevention strategies such as Truvada don't result in risk compensation because they provide an opportunity for participants to actively engage in and reduce their risk of HIV infection," added Dr. Grant. "Engagement, which also includes counseling, provision of condoms and management of other sexually transmitted infections leads to motivation, which comes at a time when motivation for preventing new HIV infections is vital to curbing the spread of this worldwide epidemic."

"The research team's findings should help to minimize reluctance to embrace Truvada over fears that it could actually lead to increased risk and more infections," said Jeffrey Crowley, distinguished scholar at the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University and former director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. "This study reinforces the importance of drugs like Truvada as one component of a comprehensive plan for supporting people living with HIV and -- importantly -- preventing others from becoming infected."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Gladstone Institutes. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Julia L. Marcus, David V. Glidden, Kenneth H. Mayer, Albert Y. Liu, Susan P. Buchbinder, K. Rivet Amico, Vanessa McMahan, Esper Georges Kallas, Orlando Montoya-Herrera, Jose Pilotto, Robert M. Grant. No Evidence of Sexual Risk Compensation in the iPrEx Trial of Daily Oral HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (12): e81997 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081997

Cite This Page:

Gladstone Institutes. "No link between HIV-prevention pill Truvada, increased sexual risk behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131218171047.htm>.
Gladstone Institutes. (2013, December 18). No link between HIV-prevention pill Truvada, increased sexual risk behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131218171047.htm
Gladstone Institutes. "No link between HIV-prevention pill Truvada, increased sexual risk behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131218171047.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins