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A study by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) has found that the HIV-preventing drugs Truvada is as safe as Aspirin.

The surprising results seem to be at odds with a number of medical and HIV organisations worldwide who are still cautious about the use of the drug and the side-effects that may be caused.

Researchers from UCLA compared five major studies on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV infection with two major studies on aspirin Safety.


Each medication was given a score based on how numbers needed to harm (NNH) or cause a reported side effect.

The report published in the Open Forum Infectious Diseases Journal concluded, that the use of Truvada as PrEP was favorable to Aspirin in terms of safety, but that more studies on long-term use were needed.

Still, those users who have engaged in short or medium term PrEP should be reassured of the drug’s safety.

PrEP drug Truvada can drastically reduce people’s chances of being infected with HIV if taken daily.

The drug has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation and is routinely available to at-risk men in the US – though it is yet to become available in the UK, Australia and New Zealand despite some very successful trials and a number of people importing the drug themselves from overseas.

A number of HIV groups remain concerned about the effectiveness of the drugs and their long-term risks – but a new study attempts to allay those fears.

The study, by Noah Kojima and Jeffrey D. Klausner of the School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, was published in the Open Forum Infectious Diseases journal.

Notes from the Study: “The safety and effectiveness studies of [the drug] for HIV infection pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in men and women showed that daily use reduced the risk of HIV acquisition, but there still may concerns about safety.

“We conclude that FTC-TDF (Truvada) for PrEP for HIV infection favorably compares to aspirin in terms of user safety. While long-term studies are needed, providers should feel reassured about the safety of short- and medium-term PrEP for HIV infection with FTC-TDF.

“Given the observed safety and efficacy of FTC-TDF for PrEP for HIV infection and intent of the majority of high-risk MSM to use PrEP, physicians should now actively look for patients who may benefit from it.

“A ‘duty to prevent’ suggests that physicians should identify patients in their practice with behaviours that might put them at risk for HIV infection and offer PrEP routinely.”

Former UK health minister Norman Lamb recently called for the drugs to be available on the National Health System in the UK and the President of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations Bridget Haire has said gay men who are of high risk of HIV need PrEP and they must have PrEP as an option.


Below is a forum presented by Queensland HIV Foundation about the rise of PrEP use and why it is important to effectively ending HIV.

Last Updated on Jan 9, 2016

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