We May Be Able to Eradicate HIV Without Ever Finding a Cure For It

We May Be Able to Eradicate HIV Without Ever Finding a Cure For It

We are getting closer and closer to eradicating HIV, a sexually transmitted infection that has contributed to the deaths of at least 32 million people worldwide since the early 1980s. However, something that’s likely to surprise a lot of people is that scientists believe we may be able to eradicate HIV before we ever even find a cure for it. Yep, you read that right.

Read More

Do Gay and Bisexual Men on PrEP Take More Sexual Risks?

Do Gay and Bisexual Men on PrEP Take More Sexual Risks?

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (also known as PrEP for short) is an increasingly popular method of HIV prevention among persons at the highest risk of infection. It involves taking one pill per day that combines two different drugs (tenofovir and emtricitabine). These are actually the same drugs used to treat people who already have HIV; however, when someone who is uninfected takes them, it makes it very difficult for HIV to establish an infection in the body should that person be exposed to the virus through sexual activity or injection drug use.

PrEP was originally approved by the FDA five years ago and it’s estimated that 136,000 people are now taking it—a figure that continues to climb significantly year over year. The vast majority of the people taking PrEP in the United States are gay and bisexual men, given that they’re the group that’s most at risk for contracting HIV here. However, as more men who have sex with men have begun taking PrEP, concerns have been raised over whether this drug might be changing their sexual behaviors.

Read More

HIV-Prevention Medications Also Protect Against Genital Herpes

HIV-Prevention Medications Also Protect Against Genital Herpes

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP for short) has been in the news a lot lately. In case you are not familiar, PrEP refers to a new method of HIV prevention. Uninfected individuals simply take a medicine known as Truvada daily (Truvada is a combination of two different drugs, tenofovir and emtricitabine). This is actually the same medication used to treat people who are HIV-positive—and it works for them by dramatically lowering the level of the virus in the body (to be clear, this is not a cure--but it does help extend the life of an HIV-positive person significantly). However, when taken by someone who is uninfected, this drug appears to be effective at preventing the virus from ever taking hold. In fact, some studies have found that among individuals who take this drug consistently, their risk of contracting HIV is reduced by as much as 92%! A new study suggests that PrEP may have the positive side effect of protecting against other sexually transmitted infections as well.

Read More