Study Claims Using HIV Meds As Preventive To Infection Is Safe For Negative Gay Men

A study released at the AIDS 2010 conference in Vienna claims that using widely-prescribed HIV medications as a preventive for new infections (PrEP) is safe for HIV-negative men who have sex with men. Please note that effectiveness in preventing infection results have not yet been released on this study.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with tenofovir (found in Viread, Truvada and Atripla) is safe for men who have sex with men (MSM), according to a U.S. study presented Friday, July 23, at the XVIII International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Vienna. PrEP is one of the most promising prevention tools on the immediate horizon. With PrEP, HIV-negative individuals take antiretroviral drugs to prevent becoming infected with the virus. The first PrEP studies are testing tenofovir alone (Viread), while several later studies are testing tenofovir plus emtricitabine (Truvada). Currently, all studies are looking at daily ongoing use of the drugs, but future trials are planned with intermittent dosing. The first efficacy results are expected later this year, but researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta presented findings from a safety study at this year’s IAC.

As always, it’s important to look at the size and the methodology of this study before making any decisions about your own health care.

RELATED: An unrelated NYC-based survey released last month indicated that the wide availability of PrEP would cause a high percentage of the most at-risk gay men to abandon safer sex practices.