Researcher wants to control HIV through prophylaxis until 2030

Combined prevention should be discussed with the patients, says Dr. Valdiléa Gonçalves Veloso


Sometimes, the drug has passed the effectiveness to prevent the virus. Cases could be avoided

The chances to transmit the Human Deficiency Virus (HIV), that causes AIDS, drops 96% when pre-exposure (PrEP) and post-exposure (PEP) prophylaxis are correctly applied among people in populations of high risk of infection. The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation researcher Dr. Valdiléa Gonçalves Veloso says merging early treatment and prophylaxis could control the virus epidemic until 2030, as intended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

It is a bold goal, but we can achieve it. Brazil is a country with enough conditions to reach this goal, especially because we have a drug-supplying health system, explained the researcher, PhD in Public Health.

PrEP consists in daily use of a drug called Truvada, that prevents the infection by the virus, especially among those with trouble using protection during sex, i.e., loss of sensitivity, pleasure or even allergy. The drug is currently being tested in Brazil.

On the other hand, PEP is the daily ingestion of antiretroviral drugs until 72 hours after intercourse, in cases of condom failure or non-use. For the doctor, there must be more orientation regarding this method to avoid new infections. Usually, when someone seeks this treatment, the time the drug has effectiveness has passed. Sometimes we find infected people, but that could have avoided this situation, she adverted.

Dr. Valdiléa supports the discussion of strategies and risks with patients, so the methods can have more self-reliance. This debate, according to her, must discuss the use of condoms and drugs, dealing with issues such as the sexual partner selection.

Those already infected, similarly, should also know the prophylaxis methods, so they can orient their partners on how to prevent themselves. Who is already infected will not use pre or post prophylaxis, but could guide their partner on how to deal with the situation, she explained.

This is our vision on what combined prevention is and it begins while the testing. The person will be tested, and if positive (for HIV), he/she will be guided on the importance of engaging in an early treatment, what is good for their own health and good to avoid future transmissions. If negative, the risk must be assessed and discussing the best prevention strategies, she stressed.