Truvada drug news: Women need more dosage of HIV-prevention drug

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While Truvada can successfully prevent HIV infection, the amount needed for the drug to carry out its purpose may vary depending on the gender of who uses it. According to the latest study of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, women need to take the drug more often, compared to men, for them to avert a possible HIV infection.

Truvada is drug that combines tenofovir and emtricitabine, which are two other drugs for HIV. Currently, it is the sole drug that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the purpose of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) of HIV-negative people. This means that people who take the drug can be protected from contracting HIV even if their lifestyle make them prone to the disease or if their partner is already HIV positive.

While the discovery of Truvada is celebrated by people who have an active sex life, women should not be as jubilant as the men. The University of North Carolina (UNC) researchers tested the drug via laboratory and human trials, which aimed at verifying the efficacy of the drug as it is absorbed by different parts of the body, such as the rectum, vagina, and cervix. The gathered results were then translated to a computer model in order to verify what minimal dose of Truvada must be taken by each gender for it to deliver the desired results.

The computer models reaffirmed the findings of earlier research that women need to take the drug almost daily in order to achieve full protection from HIV. On the other hand, two or three doses of the drug a week can already be enough to protect men. Furthermore, the research reveals that a full protection against the disease can be achieved by a 98 percent of people upon the third daily dose of Truvada, no matter what their gender is.

“Our data highlight the fact that one dose does not fit all… in determining how best to use drugs to protect people from HIV, we need to understand where in their body they are at risk for being infected, along with the concentration of drug that is needed to protect that site from infection,” reveals senior author Dr. Angela Kashuba.