We've long wondered whether HIV drugs act differently in women than in men. If the med in question is a protease inhibitor (PI), the answer is “no,” say results from a handful of studies presented at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City this past August.

In several trials—including the GRACE study, designed especially to attract women—three PI-based combos suppressed HIV as well in women as in men. Slight differences arose when it came to side effects. Women experienced more cases of mild to moderate nausea than did men on both Norvir (ritonavir)-boosted Reyataz (atazanavir) and Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir). Women reported fewer cases of diarrhea but more vomiting with both Norvir-boosted Prezista (darunavir) and Kaletra.