It has been found that people on a PrEP regimen remain HIV-free.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (also called PrEP) can ward off HIV infection, but it requires a clinical setting. That is the crux of the matter. No HIV infections were detected among patients at the medical institution.
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This occurred during more than two and a half years of careful observation. The study was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. The study examines the uses of PrEP in a real world scenario. This sort of prophylaxis may even prevent any outbreaks in the highly contagious outer environment.
“Our study is the first to extend the understanding of the use of PrEP in a real-world setting and suggests that the treatment may prevent new HIV infections even in a high-risk setting,” reported lead author Jonathan Volk, MD, MPH, physician and epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center.
“Until now, evidence supporting the efficacy of PrEP to prevent HIV infection had come from clinical trials and a demonstration project.”
Up until now, most of the information regarding HIV was received via clinical practices. Three years back, the FDA gave the green signal to two antiviral medicines. These were emtricitabine and tenofovir.
They were used in sync with safe sex methods. The aim was to save people who do not have HIV from contracting the dreaded disease. However, these people were at a high risk of becoming infected any time in their lives.
The hazards of unprotected sex and injection of drugs causes HIV. A pill in the form of Truvada helped ward off the disease if a mistake occurred.
At the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center more than a thousand people volunteered for PrEP. The study lasted more than seven months. 99% of the PrEP volunteers were male homosexuals. And the average age was 37 years.
As compared to other groups, the PrEP volunteers suffered fewer symptoms or infections. The methodology was indeed a success. The majority of the patients never changed the number of their sexual partners.
Half of them continued to employ contraceptives as a precautionary measure. Some diseases especially STIs were contracted by these PrEP volunteers. But on the whole, they remained HIV-free.
“Without a control group, we don’t know if these STI rates were higher than what we would have seen without PrEP,” said co-author Julia Marcus, PhD, MPH, postdoctoral fellow at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. “Ongoing screening and treatments for STIs, including hepatitis C, are an essential component of a PrEP treatment program.”
HIV infections remain a scourge afflicting mankind. What began as a limited malady among the homosexual population in America way back in the early 80s went on to spread on a worldwide level. And it has only recently abated a little.
Sub-Saharan Africa remains the center of this epidemic. HIV destroys the immune system of the individual that contracts it. Thus any and every illness that he or she contracts proves to be permanent and the person eventually dies from a host of complications.
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Maybe sometime in the future, a vaccine may be developed that will eradicate this curse from our midst. Till then the only thing that can be done is exercising caution.