Research presented at this week's Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) suggests that the use of doxycycline after sex to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may not significantly increase resistance to the antibiotic.
According to reporting by UK-based charity NAM, analysis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates from participants in the DoxyPEP study—which found that taking doxycycline postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) significantly reduced incidence of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia in gay and bisexual men and transgender women—did not find markedly increased doxycycline resistance among those who were taking doxycycline and were diagnosed as having gonorrhea during follow-up. Of the 20 gonorrhea samples from people on PEP, only 2 showed high-level resistance to doxycycline.
The analysis revealed, however, a significant increase in doxycycline-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (from 5% to 13%) in participants on PEP.
The DoxyPEP trial, which was stopped early because of the positive results, found that taking a dose of doxycycline within 72 hours of unprotected sex reduced syphilis by 87%, chlamydia by 88%, and gonorrhea by 55% in HIV-negative participants who were taking HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The results were announced at the 2022 International AIDS Conference.
Following the presentation of the data, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it would collaborate with trial investigators and other partners to develop interim clinical guidance and outline key additional considerations. One of those considerations was data on the change in doxycycline resistance in other common bacteria found in or on the body.