August 31, 2012
Just days before the start of the International AIDS Conference, the US Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of TDF/FTC for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). This development has raised hopes, questions and concerns on many fronts. A session in the Global Village at AIDS 2012, “How can ARVs as prevention work for HIV-negative women?”, looked specifically at women’s views on this potential new prevention tool. Over 30 participants, most of whom were women, discussed current and future options for using ARVs for prevention in HIV-negative women. The session was co-facilitated by Lisa Diane White of SisterLove (and a PxROAR member) and Manju Chatani-Gada of AVAC.
The animated dialogue started with a presentation on HPTN 064, also known as ISIS, a US government-funded study designed to estimate the overall new HIV infection rate for women at risk in the US. Through focus groups and in-depth interviews, this research identified a number of barriers to HIV prevention and risk factors affecting these women. The discussion then shifted to one potential new prevention tool for women—daily oral TDF/FTC as PrEP. After a review of the data and current regulatory developments, the audience discussed what PrEP might mean for US women. Participants raised many questions including who would pay, how much PrEP would cost, what types of programs would offer PrEP to HIV-negative women and what kinds of testing would be required.
Similar questions apply internationally. Look out for more opportunities to join the US and international-based conversations led by AVAC and its partners.