HIV Prevention Pill Helps Men But Not Women

I wrote, a few months ago, about a revolutionary new drug, Truvada, that could reduce the risk of contracting HIV by striking percentages.  The first studies were conducted with gay men, but researchers were hopeful that the results could be replicated with other populations.  Sadly, though, it looks like women won’t benefit from this HIV prevention pill; researchers cut off a study of thousands of women when they discovered that women who take the pill are just as likely to contract HIV as women who were taking a placebo pill.

Early studies of Truvada among a population of 2,500 high-risk gay men showed that men who took the daily pill could reduce their risk of contracting HIV by up to 44 percent.  The initial side-effects were mild, and while researchers were careful to stress that the drug was not a cure-all, and that work would still have to be done to improve awareness about contraception, sex education, and treatment, this could still be a huge boon for other high-risk populations.  Truvada is already selling widely, with U.S. sales of $1.3 billion last year.

It seems, though, that women won’t be able to reap the new drug’s benefits.  “The results are disappointing, and a little surprising, but not totally surprising,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  There may be medical reasons for why Truvada isn’t working for women, which have to do with the way that HIV is spread.  But this doesn’t mean that tests on women need to end completely.  “There are still too many unanswered questions for us to make any conclusions about the role of [using anti-HIV medications to prevent HIV] in women,” Fauci explained.


Photo from Wikimedia Commons.


Shailja M.
Shailja Mukhtyar6 years ago

Differences are often in duration & exposure to secretions... women are exposed for sesveral hours, & even then , dont clean out 100% infections. Reduced transmission in males, who take the pill, may be similar to males, who can wash up minutes after exposure, w/o necessarily breaking integrity of the skin. Females may get more micro abrasions & stasis of contaminating fluids predisposing to transmission. Females may need to learn to be safe, cautious, & keep super clean!! No time to be lazy... as it could be a life sentence!!

Adam G.
Adam G6 years ago

Emanuel v: are you on drugs, or do you suffer from a mental health problem?

Don Go
Don Go6 years ago

I'm glad there's an effort to help the gay community with this problem.

It may not be able to help women yet, but they are pushing for it, and they're not giving up on the original drug just because.

It's true that these pills wont be enough, but a second layer of defense wont hurt. :)

Erica B.
Erica B6 years ago

Laura D, what we have here is either a troll, or a paranoid schizophrenic. I hope for the sake of our species, he's just a troll.

Laura D.
Laura D6 years ago

Emanuel, I sincerely hope you are just a troll. Your comments are a slap in the face to anyone in the medicine and chemistry field who is trying to come up with ways to help humans and other animals. If this vaccine will actually be used by men, and it decreases the transmission of HIV, this will be a boon.

And really, the only depopulation scare we have to worry about is the one we humans cause ourselves by our overuse of our planet's resources. Too many people love breeding for there to be any serious reduction of the human population. We're fast approaching the 7 billion mark as we speak.

Emanuel v.
Emanuel v.6 years ago

Drugs are not likely to prevent any disease caused through immune suppression caused by food denaturation , medical drugs and vaccines. HIV was deliberately disseminated throughout the population as an adjunct to the UN depopulation agenda. The hope was that many people would die as a result. But contrary to expectations the HIV contamination experiment failed and HIV hardly made a dent in the numbers of births and survivals. This is why the WHO (World Homocide Organisation ) is so keen to get their sterilising and fatal vaccines in to the masses, making believe they are being protected from dread diseases which in fact they deliberately create in their bioterrorism labs in order to serve as mass killings worldwide. Mark my words, You will see an escalation of this sort of behaviour by Big Pharma , the FDA and the WHO all being directed by the UN agenda 21 which dictates a policy of mass depopulation for the entire Globe. Make no mistake , you and I are on their list destined for Death -Row , To them we are just a bunch of useless eaters, don't you see.

ana p.
ana p6 years ago


Danny W.
Danny Wilson6 years ago

How weird it helps only men.

Andrew H.
- -6 years ago

being healthy and respecting others mind body spirit is crucial for all.

I havent seen this film, but "house of numbers" is on this topic. Is it a good/useful/accurate film? I TOTALLY dont know (SO PLEASE USE YOUR INTUITION/PRAYER to confirm first)- just a heads up (it may or may not help).

Annie C.
Annie C.6 years ago

People, while condoms are HELPFUL in preventing HIV and other STDs, they are NOT 100% effective in even preventing pregnancy, much less STDs. Yes, use condoms, but also screen your partners for their sexual activity. Ask questions, be honest about your own sexual activity, get tested often. And even then, you are still at risk for contracting STDs. I'm certainly not pushing abstinence, but being aware of how many STDs are out there, how exactly they can be contracted, and being careful in your selection of sexual partners as well as being careful in your sexual activities is the only way to lessen your risks.