Metro Weekly

Study: PrEP as safe as aspirin

Truvada  Images via and

Images via and

A new study has determined that Truvada is as safe to users as aspirin. Commonly known as PrEP — or pre-exposure prophylaxis — Truvada has been subject to numerous studies in recent years to determine its efficacy and safety in helping prevent HIV infection in users.

This latest study, published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and Oxford University Press, comes from Noah Kojima and Jeffrey D. Klausner of UCLA’s School of Medicine. Five major studies on PrEP were compared with two major studies on the safety of aspirin — which an estimated 50 million Americans take. The researchers compared the prevalence of side-effects in the studies.

“PrEP for HIV infection favorably compares to aspirin in terms of user safety,” they wrote. “While long-term studies are needed, providers should feel reassured about the safety of short- and medium-term PrEP for HIV infection.”

The studies examined reported “no serious irreversible effects… hospitalizations or deaths” among both men and women while taking PrEP. Reversible effects included mild decreases in creatinine levels and small decreases in bone density — though no serious complications were reported as a result of either of these factors. Other side effects included unintentional weight loss and a decrease in white blood cells. Aspirin, meanwhile, can cause major gastrointestinal bleeding and easy bruising, among other known side effects.

“We would conclude based on current evidence that [PrEP] favorably compares to aspirin in terms of user safety,” Kojima and Klausner wrote. They added that: “A “duty to prevent” suggests that physicians should identify patients in their practice with behaviors that might put them at risk for HIV infection and offer PrEP routinely.”

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at

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