Post submitted by Noël Gordon, former HRC Senior Program Specialist for HIV Prevention and Health Equity.
Yesterday, researchers at the 2016 HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P) Conference announced that a man in the U.S. has acquired HIV despite regularly using Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is an HIV prevention strategy that currently involves taking a once-daily pill.
In an interview with TheBody.com, a leading news source for information related to HIV and AIDS, Dr. Howard Grossman says the man is his patient and had been using PrEP since December 2015. The patient came in for routine follow-up testing earlier this year and was discovered to be HIV-positive. When asked why PrEP didn’t work in this case, Dr. Grossman replied that the man had acquired a rare strain of HIV that is resistant to both of the drugs found in Truvada, the only medication that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for PrEP. This is the second documented case of someone contracting HIV while consistently using PrEP. The first case was announced earlier this year in February.
In a separate interview with The Body, Dr. Robert Grant, an internationally recognized PrEP expert who co-presented on the case, said that he continues to believe PrEP is “at least 99 percent effective” even with these now two cases of PrEP failure. According to Grant, “PrEP is still the most effective tool for HIV prevention we have ever had.”
Even though PrEP has been proven to be safe and highly effective at preventing HIV transmission, it is not foolproof. It only works if you take it exactly as prescribed. Additionally, it’s important to remember that PrEP does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections or unwanted pregnancy. Condoms, birth control and other proven prevention methods can be paired with PrEP to provide additional protection.
If you or someone you know is interested in PrEP, check out the resources below:
- Find a PrEP Provider
- Is PrEP Right for Me?
- How to Talk to Your Provider about PrEP
- What to Do if Your Provider Says "No" to PrEP
- Must-Read Articles about PrEP
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