A man who was taking a daily dose of the HIV-prevention pill Truvada has tested positive for the HIV virus in New York City.
The case – the second of its kind to be reported – was made public this week by HIV Research for Prevention during its conference Chicago.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) has been shown to be up to 99% effective at preventing HIV transmission.
It works this way: An HIV-negative person takes a daily medication to reduce their risk of becoming infected.
The two cases of infection that have been reported highlight that while rare, it is not the impossible to become HIV-positive while on the drug.
The New York City man had tested negative several times before going on PrEP in January.
He then had casual sex with two different men without using condoms. He was the ‘top’ in both instances.
His main partner is HIV-positive but doctors say he must have contracted the virus from one of the other men because tests showed there was no relationship between his virus and that the partner.
The man, in his twenties, is now taking a mixture of antiretroviral drugs and his viral load has remained undetectable.
‘We know PrEP is not 100% effective, and that’s something we need to be saying loudly and clearly,’ Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, a global HIV-prevention advocacy group in New York City, tells BuzzFeed News.
‘No prevention method — other than abstinence — is.’