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If A Pill Cuts HIV Infection Among Gays By 44-90%, Can We Call It A Wonder Drug?

The drug Truvada is being credited with slicing the HIV transmission rate among sexually active gay men by 44 percent, and possibly 90 percent. Wowza.

The startling results come from a study conducted in the U.S. (along with Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, South Africa, and Thailand) over nearly three years that ended in Dec. 2009, with 2,499 men who have sex with men (MSM) aged 18-67 and HIV-negative when the study began. Twenty-nine trans women were also part of the study, which had participants taking a daily dose of the drug, which is manufactured by Gilead Sciences.

Researchers found 100 new cases of HIV during the study, relays AFP, which notes, “Of those, 36 were recorded among the 1,251 participants given Truvada and 64 among the 1,248 who had been given a placebo, showing that the drug reduced the risk of infection by 43.8 percent, according to the authors of the study.” That rate climbs to 90 percent for men whose blood tests showed they took the pill every day as instructed, without missing doses It’s enough to have Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which sponsored the study, to call the results “significant,” adding, “Those who took the drug on 90 percent or more days had 72.8 percent fewer HIV infections.” Moreover, initial concerns that participants would use the study as an excuse to engage in riskier sex were quelled by the results: Participants increased condom usage and reported fewer sexual partners.

That’s good news, considering the coincidental percentage of HIV-positive MSM living in major cities who don’t know they’re infected: 44 percent.

The results will be published in the November 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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14 Comments

  • Enron

    Lets not forget the reality, this is not a cure and you are still at risk of being infected as evidenced by the study. The best recommendation is to use protection every time you decide to go out and have a good time. Go easy on the promiscuity, try and get to know your partner, be open minded and honest with them, poz or no poz. A word especially to some of the spiteful poz ones, stop purposely trying to infect others so they can feel your pain.

  • meego

    That’s it, pump us full of toxic drugs again instead revealing the cure! Disease is big business!

  • Qjersey

    Actually this strategy is nothing new. I have heard from many men that were out in the 70’s that doctors would routinely give them prescriptions for antibiotics to take before or after hooking up to prevent STDs.

  • Daez

    If they increased condom use and had fewer sexual encounters then the study is inherently flawed simply because those two measures would cut the infection rate.

    Why spend all this money trying to prevent HIV when its quite obvious already how to prevent it? Simply don’t fuck anything that moves. See, is it that hard? Limit your sexual partners to one. Use protection! See, you just stopped the spread of HIV. We are now living in a time where anyone in the civilized world that gets HIV did so because they didn’t bother to protect themselves.

  • Jesse

    RE: @Daez “We are now living in a time where anyone in the civilized world that gets HIV did so because they didn’t bother to protect themselves.”

    That’s not quite true.
    People do get HIV despite protecting themselves. Yes protection reduces risk, but condoms do not reduce transmission by 100%. Condoms also do break sometimes.

  • bobby

    @Qjersey

    yes, there are still people who do this. Take med’s before going out to sex clubs or orgy’s. BUT this is how drug resistant strains of viruses are born. Viruses are living organism’s, one way or another they will adapt and evolve and find a way to infect their “host”.

  • Phil

    “Viruses are living organism’s”

    You misunderstand a basic point of biology. Viruses are not alive and they do not actively adapt to find new hosts. They are bands of rogue, militant genetic material that do what they’re programed to do and that is to make more of themselves. Antivirals inhibit the processes whereby viruses encode more virions. Viruses do not become drug resistant, they simply find novel new modes of transmission, infection and stealth.

  • kabulykos

    @Daez Re: “If they increased condom use and had fewer sexual encounters then the study is inherently flawed simply because those two measures would cut the infection rate.”

    I hope you realize that’s why the study had a *placebo control group* so behavioral factors like the one you mention don’t impact stated efficacy.

    It helps to understand the scientific method before trying to shoot holes through its use.

  • Richard

    Its a great time to be gay, if you’re a slut who intentionally puts himself at risk and has 12k a year to blow through on preventative treatment which surely won’t be covered by insurance. For anyone with a brain who gets infected through routine mistakes, cheating partners, broken condoms and psychotic tricks, you’re still fucked. Happy karma everybody!

  • Sean

    43.8? 72.8? Why do people use numbers with way more digits than they can they can substantiate?

    Not to say that the study results are not significant, but a measurement of 43.8% would probably mean that the “real” risk reduction would be around 40-50%.

  • Richard

    @Enron:

    I’m sure the murderous pozzies who try to infect others will be especially swayed by your request that they stop, Enron. Invariably, they’ll put away their sabotaged condoms and start disclosing for the good of humanity. The rest of us, including those who were infected by such psychopaths, just think you’re trying to make us look dangerous though.

  • jason

    HIV is not a gay-specific virus. The people who disseminate this falsehood consist of pity-class gays, the pharmaceutical industry, and the homophobes themselves. It’s an unlikely coalition of pro-gay, anti-gay, and commercial interests.

    Message to the pity-class gays: fuck off. We in the GLBT community don’t want you and your pity class notions about how HIV is a “horrible virus that affects gay men”. HIV affects anyone who is promiscuous and sleazy and who doesn’t look after their health.

    There is no such thing as a virus preferentially affecting an orientation based on that orientation alone.

  • Richard

    “HIV affects anyone who is promiscuous and sleazy and doesn’t look after their health”…well, its good to see that after 30 years of dying and shame we’ve advanced so far. I hope that if you’re ever part of the one in five “sleazy” gay men who fails to properly look after your health, someone shows you more compassion than you’ve displayed here.

  • ewe

    @jason: omg Jason. You can get HIV with one experience if you happen to be with someone HIV+ and unprotected. Being promiscuous is NOT the reason a virus is obtained. If i have sex everyday everywhere with people HIV negative then i will not ever be HIV+. I can’t fucking believe i have to say that on this site. Many people would consider the gay community as a ghetto class so pity all of the gay community is your message. I am going to believe you don’t really believe anything you wrote.

Comments are closed.