Dose response for starting and stopping HIV preexposure prophylaxis for men who have sex with men

Clin Infect Dis. 2015 Mar 1;60(5):804-10. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciu916. Epub 2014 Nov 18.


Background: This study estimated the number of daily tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine (TDF/FTC) doses required to achieve and maintain (after discontinuation) intracellular drug concentrations that protect against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection for men who have sex with men (MSM).

Methods: Tenofovir diphosphate (TFV-DP) concentrations in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and rectal mononuclear cells from an intensive pharmacokinetic study ("Cell-PrEP" [preexposure prophylaxis]) of 30 days of daily TDF/FTC followed by 30 days off drug were evaluated. A regression formula for HIV risk reduction derived from PBMCs collected in the preexposure prophylaxis initiative study was used to calculate inferred risk reduction. The time required to reach steady state for TFV-DP in rectal mononuclear cells was also determined.

Results: Twenty-one HIV-uninfected adults participated in Cell-PrEP. The inferred HIV risk reduction, based on PBMC TFV-DP concentration, reached 99% (95% confidence interval [CI], 69%-100%) after 5 daily doses, and remained >90% for 7 days after stopping drug from steady-state conditions. The proportion of participants reaching the 90% effective concentration (EC90) was 77% after 5 doses and 89% after 7 doses. The percentage of steady state for natural log [TFV-DP] in rectal mononuclear cells was 88% (95% CI, 66%-94%) after 5 doses and 94% (95% CI, 78%-98%) after 7 doses.

Conclusions: High PrEP activity for MSM was achieved by approximately 1 week of daily dosing. Although effective intracellular drug concentrations persist for several days after stopping PrEP, a reasonable recommendation is to continue PrEP dosing for 4 weeks after the last potential HIV exposure, similar to recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis.

Keywords: HIV; MSM; pharmacokinetics; preexposure prophylaxis; tenofovir.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-HIV Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Emtricitabine / administration & dosage
  • Emtricitabine / pharmacokinetics*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Homosexuality, Male*
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / chemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rectum / chemistry
  • Tenofovir / administration & dosage
  • Tenofovir / pharmacokinetics*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Tenofovir
  • Emtricitabine