On the final day of the 2024 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), HIV.gov discussed highlights of research on Doxy-PEP and long-acting HIV prevention and treatment with Dr. Jonathan Mermin, Director of CDC’s National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. He spoke with Miguel Gomez, Director of HIV.gov. Watch their conversation at the top of this article and on YouTube.

Doxy-PEP for STI Prevention

Discussing new research on the use of Doxy-PEP to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Dr. Mermin characterized it as “the most exciting intervention for STI prevention in two decades.” The studies presented at CROI provided real-world evidence of the effects of individuals taking a 200 mg dose of the antibiotic doxycycline as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) within 72 hours after condomless sex to prevent bacterial STIs, an approach that has become known as Doxy-PEP. He highlighted studies from San Francisco that showed a nearly two-thirds reduction in chlamydia and syphilis and a smaller reduction in gonorrhea, among men who have sex with men and transgender women PrEP users in a single clinic and city-wide. However, there remains an evidence gap on the effectiveness of Doxy-PEP among cisgender women. Dr. Mermin observed that this is concerning since the majority of bacterial STIs occur among cisgender women. He shared that there is interest in the research community to support a Doxy-PEP efficacy study among cisgender women to rapidly gather the information needed.

Long-Acting HIV Prevention

Dr. Mermin, who served as a member of the conference’s Scientific Program Committee, also shared that he was impressed with the new information and accumulating data on long-acting formulations for HIV prevention and treatment that were discussed at CROI. Researchers presented results of several ongoing investigations into various formulations that could last weeks or months from a single oral or injectable dose. “We need to change what we have to offer people for it to be effective,” Dr. Mermin observed, because “people don’t fail drugs, drugs fail people.”

Catch Up on Other HIV Research Updates

HIV.gov has shared other interviews from CROI 2024 with federal HIV leaders, participating researchers, and community members. You can find all of them on HIV.gov’s social media channels and with recaps here on the blog available by using the CROI topic tag.

About CROI

More than 3,600 HIV and infectious disease researchers from 73 countries gathered in Denver and virtually from March 3-6 this year for CROI, an annual scientific meeting on the latest research that can help accelerate global progress in the response to HIV and other infectious diseases, including STIs and viral hepatitis. Over 1,000 summaries of original research were presented. Visit the conference website for more information. Session webcasts and more information will be published there for public access in 30 days.

This blog post was published March 13, 2024, on HIV.gov.