Thursday, July 21, 2011

Drug study sees up to 92-percent cut in HIV risk among gays

via Google, By AFP

[ This article offers a good overview of the data behind studies around pre-exposure prophylaxis]

Volunteers who responded most to a cocktail of antiretroviral drugs in an HIV prevention trial among gay men had a reduced risk of 92 percent of being infected by the AIDS virus, researchers said on Wednesday.

They presented the work as a last-minute, or "late-breaker", contribution to the world forum on AIDS science in Rome.

The research looked at a group of men who took part in a major trial called iPrEx HIV Prevention Study.
iPrEx explored the idea that an uninfected person taking daily AIDS drugs could be shielded from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a novel approach called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

The overall findings, published last November, found that use of a drug called Truvada reduced HIV infections by 44 percent compared with a dummy pill, also called a placebo.

The new study looked at a sub-set of men who had the highest concentrations of the drug in their blood -- a telltale that they had been highly disciplined about taking the pill and that their system had also absorbed it better.

Read more.


  1. "Highly disciplined subset." Translation: Yeah, we weren't very pleased with the real findings - 43.8% - so we figured out a way to get a better headline.

  2. placebo effect?

  3. They are talking specifically about men with high concentrations of Truvada in their bloodstream. So, they were most certainly not on placebo, and therefore this result could not be the placebo effect.

  4. would there be a placebo effect in the act of taking a pill regularly? adherent pill taking raises consciousness, each dose a reminder about taking steps in preventing more risky exposures.

  5. The iPrEx trial was double-blind and randomized, meaning no one knew - not trial participants, not researchers - who was taking a true placebo and who was taking the active drug. So the consciousness raising around taking the pill could apply to the entire sample - and still, those with drug in the blood had high rates of protection compared to those who didn't. Should be noted that the entire study sample also received state of the art prevention - condoms, counseling, STD testing and treatment.


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