A new study finds that Truvada, an HIV prevention pill, works differently in women than in men.
A new study has found that the HIV prevention drug Truvada isn’t as effective in women as it is in men, indicating that we still have a long way to go in getting AIDS under control decades after it first broke out. But Truvada still represents the fact that science continues to progress toward new tools to battle HIV and AIDS, and we may be closer to a cure for the diseases than we think.
The study, published by the University of North Carolina in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, found that while men only need two doses of Truvada per week to protect against HIV, women required a daily dose. There are many groups that are not sold on Truvada, arguing that it must be taken as prescribed to be effective and since many people don’t, it may lull them into a false sense of security — and in addition it may make the disease resistant to a Truvada-based treatment once they contract AIDS.
But while there are many imperfect tools against the HIV epidemic, it at least shows that we’ve come a long way since the disease first emerged, and there are many exciting developments coming down the pipeline that could lead to an HIV vaccine.
Dr. Stuart Rennie, a professor at UNC, said in a Q&A last year that there is “currently unprecedented excitement surrounding the possibility of a cure for HIV.” He noted that funding for research devoted to finding a cure has been increasing, and science has turned the disease from a death sentence to a manageable illness. There’s also the Berlin patient, Timothy Brown, who was cured miraculously a few years ago, a case that scientists are still studying.
But much more work needs to be done, Rennie said. Scientists still have a lot to learn on the pathogenesis of HIV. So while we may be closer than ever, there’s still no telling when we will finally achieve that goal.