A study at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco tracked 600 gay men for over two years as they used Truvada, also known as PrEP or “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” a drug taken to prevent the contraction of HIV – and none of the study participants tested HIV-positive!
The study looked at the use of Truvada in a real-world rather than a clinical setting; the participants used the drug for an average of seven months, and some of them reported having multiple partners in a short span of time, which researchers termed as a high-risk setting. Even then, there were no new HIV infections among the participants.
Truvada has been criticized as a “party drug,” and concerns have been raised that people who use Truvada may use it in lieu of condoms, even though Truvada only prevents HIV and not other sexually transmitted infections. And, unfortunately, this turned out to be the case – 30 percent of the participants contracted a different STI within a year, 50 percent contracted an STI within two years, and while 56 percent of participants said that their use of condoms remained unchanged, 41 percent said that they used condoms less.
However, the study shows that Truvada is, at least, an extremely effective part of HIV prevention, along with condoms and other safe sex methods.