HIV PrEP needs licensing for adolescents, researchers say

Study highlights a need for adolescent men who have sex with men to be given pre-exposure prophylaxis and for adherence to be promoted in this group.

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The efficacy of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP; tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine) against HIV transmission has never been explored in adolescents, despite them being a major group at risk of the virus.

In a study in JAMA Pediatrics (online, 5 September 2017), researchers enrolled 78 HIV-negative men who have sex with men aged 15–17 years, who were at high-risk for acquiring the virus. They received PrEP and took part in an HIV prevention intervention over 48 weeks[1]

The researchers found that the drug was well tolerated and adherence was high during the first three months (49% at week 12) of the study, but declined as time went on (22% at week 48). Three participants acquired an HIV infection during the study follow-up, all of whom had low detectable drug levels.

The researchers said that the level of HIV transmission, which was higher than in other studies, indicates the need for PrEP in this age group but more resources may be needed to promote adherence.


[1] Hosek S, Landovitz R, Kapogiannis B et al. Safety and feasibility of antiretroviral preexposure prophylaxis for adolescent men who have sex with men aged 15 to 17 years in the United States. JAMA Ped 2017. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.2007

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, November 2017, Vol 9, No 11;9(11):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20203689

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