Findings from a clinical trial happening in Vancouver could help earmark a drug that would prevent bacterial STIs.
The trial is set to test if taking the antibiotic doxycycline daily or after a sexual encounter can help prevent syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia.
The study is co-led by Dr. Troy Grennan, medical lead for STI/HIV Services with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).
“There have been some small studies but this is the first large-scale trial to do a head-to-head evaluation of these different approaches to STI prevention using doxycycline,” says Dr. Grennan.
Participants for the study will be randomly assigned to one of two groups, to check if taking doxycycline reduces the chances of getting an STI after having sex with someone with an infection.
The randomized controlled trial is known as DISCO: Doxycycline as an Intevention for STI Chemoprophylaxis.
Dr. Grennan says along with the effectiveness of the treatment, he and his team will also carefully monitor the resistance to the antibody.
“Doxycycline has been around since the 1960s and we have a lot of experience using it as a longer-term treatment for acne, and prevention for malaria,” he said.
“We have not seen a lot of resistance to doxycycline developing, though there isn’t a lot of data out there.”
Dr. Grennan and his team are recruiting cisgender and transgender gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM), and trans women who have been treated for an STI in the past year.
Recruitment has started in Vancouver, with other Canadian sites to follow. The goal is to recruit 560 people who are likely to be exposed to STIs.
To participate in the trial, click here