NEW YORK — Studies are ongoing to gauge the degree to which PrEP may still work as a viable HIV prevention strategy even if it’s not taken daily, the Hunter College Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST) announced in a press release last week.
Citing a new study called “Accuracy of highly sexually active gay and bisexual men’s predictions of their daily likelihood of anal sex and its relevance for intermittent event-driven HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxix,” to be published in an upcoming issue of JAIDS (Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, researchers analyzed behavioral data on gay and bi men’s sexual practices and behaviors by using an online daily diary that asked men to predict whether they would have sex the next day and then follow up to see whether or not they did. This was done for 30 days.
The research pool was highly sexually active with men reporting an average of about 13 male partners in the six weeks prior to enrollment, thus making them ideal candidates for PrEP, researchers said.
“Interestingly, we found that gay and bisexual men were not very good at predicting when they would have sex. They often overestimated their likelihood of having anal sex with casual partners,” said Dr. Jeffrey Parsons, lead researcher. “Instead, we found that they were much better at predicting when they wouldn’t have sex,” he continued. So, basically, even if a guy is sure he is going to get laid, chances aren’t much better than flipping a coin. On the other hand, when a guy is certain he won’t have sex, chances are, he’s right.”
The high cost of Truvada (PrEP) was cited as one factor in the study. Researchers said more behavioral research is needed before event-based dosing is recommended.