A drug that was designed to lower the chance of HIV in affected people is showing promise.
In its first real-world trial, the study found patients who took the drug stayed HIV-free. The research continues to support the new drug, PrEP, as an effective method of curbing the spread of the HIV virus.
Used for the first time outside a clinical setting, researchers evaluated more than 650 people who took the drug over a 32-month period. The majority were males who have sex with other males. While some participants developed various other sexually transmitted diseases, they still remained HIV-free.
“This is really compelling data that shows that PrEP works in a real-world setting,” said Dr. Jonathan Volk, a San Francisco Kaiser physician and lead author of the study.
“We have a fantastic new tool we can be using to help our patients protect themselves from HIV. I don’t think PrEP is right for everybody. But for the folks who need it, it works.”
The Food and Drug Administration approved PrEP for use in 2012, and it’s been recommended to anyone that engages in sexual activities that have a higher chance of contracting HIV. The drug can reduce risk of HIV infection by 92% if taken properly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Surprisingly, HIV rates have remained level in recent years, despite campaigns to raise awareness and encourage safe sex.