HIV ‘barrier pill’ proves highly effective yet again

Picture: Supplied.

Picture: Supplied.

The drug said to protect men from contracting HIV when taken before engaging in sexual activity, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), has reportedly shown a 100% success rate in a case study carried out over two and a half years.

The study follows many that have already confirmed the efficacy of the drug. Among the 600 men who participated in the study in San Francisco, US, no one of them contracted the virus while using the pill. The individual participants spent an average 7.2 weeks on the pill, HIV Plus Mag reported.

In June, South African advocates called for PrEP to be made available to all those in the country who needed it, urging the South African Medicines Control Council (MCC) to immediately approve its use.

Ntando Yola of Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation said the drug was still not available to the general populace. “South Africa is not moving as fast as it should be in giving citizens access to the drug,” Yola told The Citizen.

The San Francisco study, carried out at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Centre, was the first time study on PrEP done in a clinical practice setting on that scale, according to Jonathan Volk, a physician at the centre.

While not all the men engaged in condom-less sex, 41% of participants reported a decrease in condom use, compared to the 56% who said their use of condoms remained consistent throughout the study.

Concerns remain, however, around the susceptibility to other STI infections that PrEP is unable to prevent. Towleroad reported that 30% percent of the men in the study contracted an STI within six months of starting PrEP, while another 50% contracted one within a year of using PrEP.


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