LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Following claims of sweeping success made by lead researchers regarding the latest results of a new study on PrEP (the use of Gilead’s AIDS treatment, Truvada, for use as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, as a possible method of HIV prevention), advocates from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) counter that the results from the very same study suggest that adherence to the medication will be the key benchmark for judging success of the HIV prevention strategy when deployed among the general public. AHF advocates note the most recent data released indicate that many high-risk populations recently targeted by the CDC and WHO for scale up of PrEP—MSM, transgender women, young people—were also likely to be populations that have the hardest time adhering to the medication.
Preliminary results from the iPrEx OLE (Open-label Extension)] study released at the 20th International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Melbourne, Australia last week, showed an overall efficacy 49% underscoring how difficult adherence—which is absolutely critical to the success of PrEP—will be to achieve in the general public and in particular, specific high-risk populations such as MSM, sex workers and others—the very populations being targeted for PrEP by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) in their respective recent recommendations for the widespread scale up and implementation of the problematic HIV prevention strategy.
The study enrolled 1,225 MSM and transgender women, 847 of whom openly or knowingly received Truvada. Researchers found an overall efficacy rate of only 49%, and that compliance—and efficacy—was higher among older participants. According to an article posted on AIDSMap.com, the official news service for the AIDS conference, “The researchers also calculated that only 39% of participants at high risk of HIV at the start of the study were taking enough PrEP doses to protect them against HIV three months later,” and that there was a, “substantial early dropout rate seen, especially among young people.”
“Couple the results from the iPrEx open-label extension study released in Australia at the International AIDS Conference with the recent recommendations by both the CDC and the World Health Organization for widespread scale up of PrEP and you have the recipe for a potential public health disaster in the making,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Both bodies are recommending PrEP for the targeted populations that had the greatest difficulty adhering to PrEP. If anything, these preliminary results of the iPrex OLE study underscore how absolutely critical adherence is to the efficacy of PrEP for HIV prevention and how misguided the institutional endorsements of PrEP by the CDC and WHO are.”
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to nearly 317,000 individuals in 34 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.