HIV-preventing PrEP drugs ‘safe for teens’ finds new study

Joseph McCormick September 5, 2017
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PrEP, which if taken regularly can be used to protect against HIV transmission, is safe to be used by adolescents, a new study has found.

A diverse group of teen at high risk of HIV-transmission tolerated the PrEP drugs well in a new study.

Speaking to Reuters, lead author Sybil Hosek, a clinical psychologist and HIV researcher at Cook County Health and Hospitals System’s Stroger Hospital in Chicago said: “I do hope clinicians increase their comfort with being able to provide PrEP to adolescents.”

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) has been credited

Hosek has said she hopes the data will go to the FDA and will encourage the approval of the use of the pill as a preventative measure for young people.

The FDA approved PrEP for use in adults back in 2012.

RELATED: What is PrEP and how can I get it? Everything you need to know about HIV-preventing drugs

78 teens aged 15 to 17 from six US cities participated at the study.

They were all HIV-negative at the start of the study but all at high risk of HIV infection.

47 participants completed the study and only three reported adverse side effects possibly relating to the PrEP medication.

“I think the safety piece is important,” Hosek told Reuters Health.

“It was well tolerated. We didn’t see many complaints about side effects. We did not see many adverse events.”

The study went over 48 weeks, and all participants received a counselling session about HIV risk.

When the FDA first approved Truvada in 2012 for adult use, very little evidence was collected on its use for adolescent males.

Three of the participants became HIV positive during the trial, but researchers conducted blood tests and thought they had taken less than two of the daily pills a week on average.

Research also found no increase in risky sexual behaviours throughout the study.

The study found that the rate of HIV transmission in the participants was on average 6.4 cases in 100, around twice as high as the rates for men aged between 18 and 22.

“I shudder to think what the (HIV infection) rate would be if we didn’t offer PrEP,” added Hosek.

The lead researcher added that it is likely that poor adherence to the drug is what caused the higher rate.

The study was published in JAMA Pediatrics online on 5 September 2017.

A hilarious video which pits PrEP and prevention methods against HIV and stigma in a wrestling-style smackdown has been created to promote the HIV prevention drug PrEP.

Sexual health experts last month warned that an NHS trial for HIV-preventing drugs could be full in just a matter of weeks.

More: AIDS, HIV, PrEP, Teen, teens, US

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