Daily prophylactic oral tenofovir protects against herpes simplex virus 2

Herpes simplex virus (Credit:  AJ Cann/Flickr)Main Point:

Daily oral preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with a tenofovir-based regimen protects against herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) acquisition.

Published in:

Annals of Internal Medicine

Study Further:

PrEP using the antiretroviral tenofovir alone or in combination with emtricitabine has been shown to significantly reduce the risk for HIV-1 infection among high-risk populations. HSV-2 infection is common worldwide and is prevalent among HIV-1 infected persons. HSV-2 is also a significant risk factor for HIV-1 acquisition, so finding an effective primary prevention strategy for HSV-2 is a public health priority.

Researchers conducted a secondary analysis of HSV-2 acquisition among participants who were initially seronegative for HIV-1 and HSV-2 in a large randomized, placebo-controlled trial of PrEP for HIV-1 prevention among HIV-1-serodiscordant heterosexual couples. They found that patients receiving tenofovir were 30 percent less likely to acquire HSV-2 than those in the placebo group.

The researchers conclude that protection against HSV-2 acquisition may be an important added benefit to PrEP for HIV-1 prevention with oral tenofovir.


C. Celum, R.A. Morrow, D. Donnell, T. Hong, C.W. Hendrix, K.K. Thomas, K.H. Fife, E. Nakku- Joloba, A. Mujugira, and J.M. Baeten, for the Partners PrEP Study Team. Daily Oral Tenofovir and Emtricitabine–Tenofovir Preexposure Prophylaxis Reduces Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Acquisition Among Heterosexual HIV-1–Uninfected Men and Women: A Subgroup Analysis of a Randomized Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine (2014), 161 (1), 11-19. http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/M13-2471


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