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Oral tenofovir-based PrEP works. Faster, smarter rollout must be a top priority.

Recent clinical trials have shown clearly that daily, oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) using the antiretroviral drugs tenofovir and emtricitabine dramatically reduces the risk of HIV infection for men and women who take it as directed. While PrEP won’t be right for every individual at risk for HIV, untold numbers of men and women will benefit—if they can access this potentially life-saving option.

So far, PrEP’s implementation has been piecemeal and incomplete. TDF/FTC is approved for use as oral PrEP in a handful of countries but, for maximum impact, PrEP rollout needs a coherent, global strategy involving many real-world demonstration projects, other research and guidance from global health agencies. At the same time, research into new PrEP formulations—such as intermittent use of pills or quarterly injections—could help improve adherence and achieve PrEP’s full potential.

Key Update

In October, the US FDA approved a new daily oral PrEP strategy using F/TAF (brand name Descovy). This next generation of oral PrEP is garnering criticism, prompting innovation in trial design and raising questions.

November 6, 2019
What We're Reading

Descovy is now approved for adults and adolescents weighing at least 35 kilograms, or about 77 pounds, to reduce the risk of contracting HIV via sex, with the exception of receptive vaginal sex. It should be taken once daily with or without food. Intermittent or on-demand use of Descovy before and after sex is not included in the approval. People wishing to use Descovy for PrEP should be tested to ensure than they are in fact HIV negative.

October 3, 2019

This is the story of the insidious influence of Big Pharma on our HIV/AIDS leadership and policy-making, and how an experienced activist like me was tricked into delivering messages for the HIV pharma giant Gilead Sciences.

September 25, 2019
My Fabulous Disease

Almost a quarter of at-risk women screened at family planning clinics in Kenya initiated pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for HIV prevention, and more than 40 percent of them returned for at least one refill, suggesting that integrating universal screening and counseling for PrEP in family planning clinics is feasible, researchers said.

September 20, 2019
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