Study finds gay men don't engage in riskier sex on HIV pills

Sat. July 24, 2010 8:51 AM by News Staff

A new trial study suggests gay men taking medication to prevent HIV infection didn't engage in riskier sex or suffer serious side effects.

The study of 400 HIV-negative men taking Viread, produced by Gilead Sciences, Inc., was presented during the International AIDS Conference in Vienna yesterday.

According to the study of gay and bisexual men in San Francisco, Atlanta and Boston, the men were no more likely to take part in risky sexual behavior when they believed the pills could prevent infection.

"It is encouraging to hear there were no serious safety concerns and that the men in the study did not appear to increase risk-taking behaviors while taking a pill," said Mitchell Warren, executive director of the New York-based AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, told Bloomberg. "Much more safety, adherence and risk data will be needed before PrEP [pre-exposure prophylaxis] can be implemented if it is proven effective."

The study, according to researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gave the men a daily dose of either Viread or a placebo. The study also found no significant side effects.

Seven became HIV-positive during the study, but none were from the group that took Viread, though the researchers say the trial wasn't large enough to test the drugs effectiveness.

Researches called PrEP one of the most promising leads for tackling HIV and AIDS globally.

The conference in Vienna closed on Friday. Earlier in the week, the conference heard that a vaginal gel containing Viread was shown to reduce infections by 39% in women in South Africa.