February 28, 2014

PrEP Used by Intravenous Drug Users Cuts HIV Infection Risk – IAVI Statement

IAVI welcomes new results demonstrating that pre-exposure prophylaxis with the antiretroviral medicine tenofovir disoproxil fumarate can almost halve the risk of HIV infection for people using intravenous drugs 

In a landmark study in Thailand by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in partnership with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Thailand Ministry of Public Health, intravenous drug users reduced their risk of contracting HIV by 49% when they used the oral antiretroviral medicine tenofovir disoproxil fumarate as daily pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) regimen to prevent HIV infection. PrEP has been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of HIV infection among other groups at-risk for HIV, such as men who have sex with men, heterosexual couples where one partner is HIV infected, and young heterosexually active men and women in high incidence settings. This study is the first to indicate that PrEP can offer significant protection for intravenous drug users as well.

IAVI applauds the work of the CDC and its partners in proving that PrEP can cut HIV infection rates among a wider array of at-risk groups. Ongoing research into all aspects of HIV prevention and treatment is critical to end suffering and save lives, both today and moving forward. The most long-term and effective approach to HIV prevention is to build a portfolio of as many proven tools as possible—such as condoms, PrEP,  voluntary male circumcision, antiretroviral treatment for the HIV-infected partner in a couple, behavior change programs and, eventually, a vaccine—to stem the tide of infections permanently.

To that end, IAVI continues to explore new approaches to building an effective AIDS vaccine, to invest in building research capacity in areas of the world most hard hit by HIV/AIDS, and to focus on the goal of creating a safe, effective AIDS vaccine available to all who need it.