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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Drug Combination Reduces Risk of HIV Infection Among Teen Males

Blue capsule-shaped pills, emblazoned with 701, taken to reduce HIV risk.

Truvada is currently approved for daily use in adults.

An NIH network study has confirmed that a combination of two drugs taken daily to reduce the chances of HIV infection among high-risk adults also works well and appears safe in males ages 15 to 17 years.

Truvada, a single pill containing the drugs tenofovir and emtricitabine, is currently approved for daily use in adults. The drug is the cornerstone of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a strategy in which healthy people at risk for HIV infection take one or more anti-HIV drugs to reduce this risk.

The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, was funded by NICHD, NIDA and NIMH.

“Several studies have shown that daily oral PrEP is effective in preventing HIV among people at high risk of becoming infected, but none of them included adolescents under age 18,” said study author Dr. Bill Kapogiannis of NICHD’s Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Diseases Branch. “Our study suggests that this therapy can safely reduce HIV risk for those under 18.”

NIH also is funding studies of PrEP therapy for girls and young women. In an upcoming NIH-funded study in several African countries, adolescent females ages 16-21 will use a vaginal ring for 6 months, oral PrEP for 6 months, then choose which method they want to use for the final 6 months of the study.

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