Main | Friday, April 20, 2012

CALIFORNIA: State Funds Study Of Daily Pill To Prevent HIV Infection

California has funded a controversial study to test whether giving high-risk patients a daily HIV medication will prevent their infection. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been denounced by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has launched statewide media campaigns against the concept.
The pill, which is already used to treat HIV patients, will be prescribed to 700 gay and bisexual men and transgender women in Los Angeles, San Diego and Long Beach who are high-risk but not infected. [snip] "With this new prevention pill, we have another intervention to put in the arsenal to try and impact this epidemic," said George Lemp, director of the California HIV/AIDS Research Program with the University of California president's office. The pill, under the brand name of Truvada, is already approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating HIV but not for prophylactic use.

In 2010, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine said that it reduced the risk of contracting HIV by 44 percent to 73 percent, depending on how often participants took their medication. The two-drug pill, produced by Gilead Sciences in the Bay Area, has side effects that include nausea and vomiting, and possible kidney problems when used with other anti-HIV drugs. A recent Stanford University study showed that the pill, which costs about $26 a day, only makes sense economically if prescribed to people at high risk, such as those with multiple partners.
AIDS Project Los Angeles will recruit subjects for the study.

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