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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016

MEDIA AVAILABILITY

NIH-Funded Study Finds Effect of PrEP on Bone Density is Reversible

​WHAT:
The slight loss in bone mineral density associated with HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) antiretroviral use is reversible in young adult patients who stop taking the drugs, according to findings presented by researchers today at the 23rd Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston. PrEP is an HIV prevention strategy in which at-risk HIV-negative people take a daily pill of Truvada, which contains the antiretroviral drugs tenofovir and emtricitabine, to prevent them from becoming infected.
 
The findings result from a bone mineral density substudy of two large clinical trials, iPrEx and iPrEx OLE, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Data from the substudy presented today illustrate that bone mineral density decreased a measurable but clinically insignificant amount over the course of a year in young adult males and transgender participants with an average age of 24 taking a protective amount of PrEP. However, six months after stopping the regimen, bone mineral density levels in the spines of these individuals increased to levels consistent with study participants of the same age who took a placebo. Hip bone mineral densities also increased in the first six months after stopping PrEP and returned to normal levels by a median follow-up time of 73 weeks.
 
Previous studies using sensitive scans have shown that HIV medications containing tenofovir slightly reduce bone mineral density, though not to a degree at which patients experience complications. This is the first study to show that this effect is reversible when a patient can stop PrEP, such as when an individual enters into a mutually monogamous relationship with another HIV-negative individual.
 
Overall, the new findings indicate that Truvada-based oral PrEP does not pose an irreversible effect on bone mineral density and support using PrEP to prevent HIV infection in at-risk young adults.
 
EVENT:
These findings were presented today at the 23rd Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston.
 
WHO:
NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., and Carl Dieffenbach, Ph.D., Director of the Division of AIDS at NIAID are available to comment on the presentation.
 
CONTACT:
To schedule interviews, please contact Judith Lavelle, (301) 402-1663, niaidnews@niaid.nih.gov.

NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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Last Updated February 23, 2016

Last Reviewed February 23, 2016