By Sy Mukherjee
November 20, 2018

Greetings, readers!

On Tuesday, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the government body tasked with, well, recommending preventive health care services to stop diseases in their tracks, is officially recommending that doctors prescribe prophylactic medicine to patients they consider vulnerable to contracting HIV.

“The USPSTF recommends that clinicians offer pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with effective antiretroviral therapy to persons who are at high risk of HIV acquisition,” said the agency in a draft recommendation.

“The evidence is clear: when taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV,” added Dr. Seth Landefeld of the USPSTF in a statement.

PrEP is a once-daily treatment regimen; biotech Gilead’s drug Truvada is the flagship treatment, and studies have found that daily Truvada use was more than 90% effective in preventing HIV infection in high risk populations such as men who have sex with men. The new government recommendation underscores that, despite that high rate of efficacy, there’s still a deluge of preventable HIV diagnoses every year (some 50,000 new infections per year, and that’s only for people who get tested, according to the Centers for Disease Control).

Beyond Truvada, the USPSTF also noted that another HIV treatment called tenofovir could also be an effective form of PrEP.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


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