Cross-posted from Nature Medicine's Spoonful of Medicine blog

Results from two trials released today provide the first evidence that taking antiretroviral drugs can prevent HIV infection among heterosexual men and women.

The preventative strategy, known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), was first shown to be effective among gay men. But PrEP suffered a setback in April when a study testing the drug Truvada among women in Africa had to be halted prematurely owing to lack of efficacy. The new trial data, however, shows that the approach has broad potential in the quest to prevent HIV transmission, according to experts in the field.

“This is the first strong, compelling evidence that PrEP can work in this population,” said Kevin Fenton, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during a press briefing earlier today. “It’s a major milestone.”

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