Last year, medical researchers had put their enthusiasm behind the anti-HIV pill Truvada. The pill spurned new research and funding because early reports claimed that it might actually be able to prevent HIV infection among healthy, high-risk gay men.
However, Truvada’s initial trials hold a major disappointment for women, especially women of color whose rates of AIDS infections remain higher than the general population.
The investigators for the study have halted the trial’s work involving women after results showed Truvada did not lower their risk of infection with HIV. Researchers found that when they split the female participants of the study and gave one group Truvada and one group a placebo pill, neither group showed notable improvement.
Still even as investigators shut down the study’s work focused on women, some are saying that the move is premature. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says it is too early to draw conclusions about the study in women.
“”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…the results are disappointing, and a little surprising, but not totally surprising. One or the other or both of these types of factors — whether it’s behavioral and has to do with adherence to the drug regimen, or whether it’s the concentration of the drugs in the tissues — is almost certainly going to have a part in the explanation of these results.”
According to a recent CDC report, the HIV incidence rate for black women was nearly 15 times as high as that for white women and nearly four times as high as Hispanic women’s.