The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) welcomes the news that in a Phase III clinical pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) trial, daily dosing with a combination of two antiretroviral medications reduced the risk of HIV acquisition in men who have sex with men and are at high risk of HIV infection. In the trial--known as the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Initiative and commonly called iPrEx, the acronym in Spanish--a once daily dose of Truvada™ (a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine) proved safe and partially effective in preventing HIV infection in trial participants. There were 44% fewer HIV infections in the group of trial participants who received Truvada than in the group who received placebo tablets.
The trial was led by researchers from the University of California at San Francisco, the J. David Gladstone Institutes and Investigaciones Méedicas en Salud, and involved nearly 3,000 volunteers at 11 research centers in Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand and the United States. It was co-sponsored by the Division of AIDS of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the US National Institutes of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
IAVI believes that the AIDS pandemic must be met with a comprehensive response—one that ensures those already HIV infected receive treatment and care, promotes existing modes of HIV prevention, and invests in new prevention tools, including PrEP, microbicides and vaccines.
We look forward to the next steps to moving PrEP forward as a prevention tool, and we congratulate the iPrEX collaborators for advancing this promising prevention method in the global campaign against HIV. Their success exemplifies what can be achieved when the power of science is focused on the pressing need for new methods of HIV prevention.