genvoyaOne of the most widely used anti-HIV drugs is tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) – it is included in the tablets Viread, Truvada, AtriplaEviplera and Stribild. TDF is highly effective and generally safe and well-tolerated, but can cause kidney and bone problems for some people.

Tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) is a new form of the drug that is delivered more efficiently to cells. This means that a much lower dose is needed, which significantly lowers the risk of side-effects. This new form of the drug, TAF, is included in the tablets Descovy, Odefsey and Genvoya.

While cheaper, generic versions TDF will be available soon, TAF is a new drug exclusive to the pharmaceutical company Gilead – it is more expensive.

Access to tablets containing TAF is most important for people who need to pay attention to their kidney or bone health. Such problems are more likely to occur as we get older.

A new analysis compares people continuing to take tablets containing TDF with people switched to tablets containing TAF. They were aged between 50 and 79 (average age 55) and most were men. Both forms of the drug were as effective as each other in reducing HIV to undetectable levels. People taking the newer TAF had improved measures of kidney function, as well as improved bone mineral density at the spine and hip.