If the recent studies regarding the ability of the drug Trivorda to prevent HIV infections prove to be valid, the results could change the world of fear that many people live in. The NYT just reported that two recent studies confirm that there is a pill believed to prevent HIV in healthy people heterosexuals. In addition, the NYT reported on another study indicating the possibility that Trivorda may be effective at HIV prevention for gay men as well.
Trivorda is not a cure-all, but was shown to reduce infection rates of people who were at-risk for HIV infections. The pill Trivorda was given to the uninfected partner in 478 couples in which one partner was infected with HIV in Kenya. After taking the pill, the uninfected partners overall “had a 73% lower chance of getting infected.” A separate study in Botswana had less favorable results; there was a 63% decrease in infection among the sexually active participants in Botswana.
The above-mentioned studies included only hetereosexual participants, but another study on Trivorda on HIV prevention conducted in San Francisco included only gay men and also had positive results. For the men who failed to take their Trivorda pill daily, the infection rate was decreased by 44%, but for the men who took their Trivorda dosage every day, the results were extremely more significant at 90%.
HIV rates in Africa are extremely high. Botswana also has a very high HIV infection rate. In 2005, over a third of the Botswana population was living with HIV. In 2007, Botswana’s HIV infection rate was still as high as 27% of the population. The small nation of Swaziland currently has the highest rate of infection in the world.
Although the HIV infection rate in the nation of Kenya has declined in recent years, the HIV infection rate of the Kenyan population at large is still hovering above 6%. Because of the lack of drugs available to Kenyans who have been infected the HIV virus, more than 80,000 people died from AIDS alone.
If the results of the studies on Trivorda prove true and if the drug can be distributed to the populations that need it, Trivorda could have a significant impact on reducing the HIV and AIDS rates in developing nations in Africa. The methods used for HIV and AIDS prevention now in Africa include circumcision for males, HIV and AIDS education, and condom distribution, all of which have helped lower HIV infection rates in recent years, but not by nearly enough.