Findings from a new study involving PrEP, the once a day HIV prevention pill, show high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The study group, classified as PROUD, included men who have sex with men (MSM). Some of the participants were given PrEP and some were not. The ones taking PrEP contracted STIs at a much higher rate.
STIs contracted were: gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. All three STIs are curable.
The study was published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society. Its results have researchers insisting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revise its PrEP guidelines and recommend men who have sex with men receive quarterly STI screenings as opposed to the current recommended semiannual screenings.
Researchers analyzed metadata of 18 studies over a combined 70,000 years to assess their findings.
“Physicans must not only vigilantly identify patients that may benefit from PrEP but also provide patients with a sexual health prevention package that includes quarterly STI screenings, timely treatment of infection, expedited partner treatment, and rescreening if positive. In addition, our results and prior reports, which not only found a higher incidence of STI among PrEP users verses nonusers but also high rates of condomless anal sex among PrEP users, suggest that more research is needed to understand if PrEP causes a higher incidence of STIs among MSM. We must ensure that our efforts fighting one public health crisis do not lead to another,” PROUD authors note.
PrEP, clinically known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, involves taking the medication Truvada daily to prevent contracting HIV.