The results of a new survey conducted by Kaiser Permanente have become a cause for concern in the healthcare community.
First, the good news heralded by the report: among those who take Truvada to prevent the risk of HIV infection during sex "there has been no increase in the number of their sexual partners and no new HIV infections."
The celebration of that headline has been tempered by one of the survey's worrisome findings. A 45 percent subset of PrEP users have reported having condom-less sex since beginning preventative treatment. Truvada may shield more than a 90 percent of a risk of HIV infection during sex, but abandoning condoms leaves users exposed to other sexually transmitted infections.
As the San Francisco Business Times points out, the larger picture is more opaque. "It represents only self-reported condom use by a subset of about 90 PrEP patients in the Kaiser program."
"We can't say how that applies to the entire group of people on PrEP," adds Dr. Brad Hare, director of Kaiser San Francisco's HIV care and prevention program.
Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation president and an early, controversial critic of Truvada as PrEP, trounced on the report. "Why would men take this medication if they intended to use a condom? It's utterly predictable."
Still, there is much praise surrounding Truvada as a HIV prevention routine.
"The reasons people are coming in are different," Dr. Hare said. "People are seeking PrEP because their friends are on it and they're sharing stories about it changing their lives. Patients are coming in and saying, 'It must be for me, too.'"
Source: Instinct Magazine
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