France has become the second country — after the United States — to approve the use of Truvada as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for those most at risk of contracting HIV.
In a move hailed by HIV organisations across Europe, the minister responsible for the decision, Marisol Touraine, said: “I welcome the recommendation for use of Truvada, a drug that should allow us to significantly advance the fight against HIV.”
The initiative follows results from the French IPERGAY PrEP trial — which was set up to establish the efficacy of taking Truvada before and after sex, rather than daily — that showed a “very significant” reduction in the risk of HIV infection.
“This is a major advance,” said Professor Jean-François Delfraissy of Paris-based HIV org ANRS. “It will allow different stakeholders — health professionals, associations, municipalities, researchers — to rally around a new goal: the eradication of HIV.” He added: “This decision should now open the doors to an authorisation of PrEP in other European countries.”
In Australia, Truvada is currently before the Therapeutic Goods Administration for approval as PrEP. Despite pressure from advocates, a decision is unlikely to be made until mid-next year.
BY CHRISTOPHER KELLY