Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) involves putting HIV negative people on antiretroviral drugs (ARV) with the aim of protecting them from HIV infection. This blog looks at some of the pros and cons of PrEP.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pharmaceutical Research; Blink and You've Missed it

Only last year, a Cochrane Review of PrEP concluded that "there is no reliable evidence to support the use of any antiretroviral agent for HIV chemoprophylaxis". At the time the study was carried out, only one study met their inclusion criteria and the result of it was not statistically significant.

But it's amazing how much can be achieved in a short time by a multi-billion dollar multinational pharmaceutical industry with ample funding and a high probability of huge profits. Ever since the HIV industry has changed its tune from 'The news is bad, we need more money' to 'The news is good, we need more money', there has been lots of favorable writing about PrEP and related uses of HIV drugs.

The Cochrane Review listed the following implications:

"We advocate well-conducted trials with the statistical power to answer questions about the value of PrEP in preventing HIV infection in various populations and risk groups. Ongoing and future trials should evaluate other important issues, such as behavioural disinhibition and drug resistance, which are some of the major concerns about the use of chemoprophylaxis for HIV."

And already there have been trials which are being interpreted in the most generous terms possible; there have been papers about how disinhibition is not likely to be such a big problem; and even drug resistance is being written about as if it is a mere challenge, not a danger, like drug resistance in relation to other diseases.

This is amazing progress, truly amazing. I'm simply amazed.


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