A pill that protects people from HIV may also lead to more sex
6 days ago, 16:18
A pill that protects people from contracting HIV may lead to reckless behaviour such as non-use of condoms during sexual intercourse, a study has shown.
The study published in the Lancet HIV Journal showed that the introduction of Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) had coincided with increases in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia and syphilis, a sign that condom use had dropped.
"When seat belt laws went into effect, some studies suggested drivers became more likely to speed or drive recklessly a phenomenon called "risk compensation." Is the same thing happening among people at risk of HIV, now that they can take antiretroviral drugs to protect themselves from the virus, they are not using a condom," revealed findings from the study.
The study surveyed 17,000 men who have sex with men in Sydney and Melbourne between 2013 and 2017.
The new study analysed the uptake and effect of PrEP, particularly on condom use by gay and bisexual men.
Recruitment occurred at gay venues or events and online. Eligible participants were 18 years identified as male (including transgender participants who identified as male), and having had sex with a man in the past five years.
Using multivariate approach, researchers assessed trends in condom use, unprotected anal intercourse with casual partners and PrEP use by gay and bisexual men, controlling for sample variation over time.
"Use of pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP daily antiretroviral pills taken by uninfected people during the study years jumped from 2 per cent of the HIV-negative participants to 24 per cent," revealed the study
The findings also revealed that in the same time frame, consistent condom use dropped from 46 per cent to 31 per cent in men who reported having anal sex with casual partners.
A rapid increase in PrEP use by gay and bisexual men in Melbourne and Sydney was accompanied by an equally rapid decrease inconsistent condom use.
Last year in May, amid much funfair, Kenya launched a pre-exposure prophylaxis drug dubbed PrEP, in a bid to reduce new HIV infections by 75 per cent, by 2019.
A year later after the launch of PrEP as an HIV-prevention measure, the experts warn that the uptake is still lower than expected.
The HIV-prevention pill Truvada, taken by people who are HIV-negative before exposure to the risk of HIV infection, contains the same antiretrovirals as some of the pills taken by people who are HIV-positive to control the virus in their bodies. Its effects last for eight hours.
When taken as prescribed, PrEP can reduce the risk of catching HIV by up to 90 per cent.
"It is taken once daily for the period of potential risk. PrEP is prescribed for one month, must be taken for at least seven days for its effectiveness to kick in, then continued. Studies have shown that, with good adherence, PrEP works miracles," said Dr Christine Ogolla, a programme director at the Elizabeth Glaser Aids Foundation.
"PrEP is not for everyone and it’s not to be taken for life. Individuals who perceive themselves to be at risk should visit a healthcare facility for a HIV test and ...
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