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Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes


BACKGROUND: With the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the United States, Black Americans are still underrepresented in HIV medical research.

SETTING: BRAAVE (NCT03631732) is a randomized, phase 3b, multicenter, open-label US study.

METHODS: Adults identifying as Black or African American and virologically suppressed on 2 nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) plus third agent were randomized (2:1) to switch to open-label bictegravir/emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide (B/F/TAF) once daily or stay on baseline regimen (SBR) for 24 weeks, after which SBR had delayed switch to B/F/TAF. Resistance to non-NRTIs, protease inhibitors, and/or NRTIs was permitted; integrase strand transfer inhibitor resistance was exclusionary. Primary endpoint was proportion of participants with HIV-1 RNA ≥50 copies/mL at week 24 (snapshot algorithm; noninferiority margin of 6%).

RESULTS: Of 558 screened, 495 were randomized/treated (B/F/TAF n = 330; SBR n = 165). Overall, 32% were ciswomen, 2% transwomen, and 10% had an M184V/I mutation. At week 24, 0.6% on B/F/TAF vs 1.8% on SBR had HIV-1 RNA ≥50 copies/mL (difference -1.2%; 95% confidence interval -4.8% to 0.9%), demonstrating noninferiority of B/F/TAF vs SBR. Proportions with HIV-1 RNA/mL at week 24 were 96% B/F/TAF and 95% SBR and remained high at week 48. No participant had treatment-emergent resistance to study drug. Treatments were well tolerated. Study drug-related adverse events, mostly grade 1, occurred in 10% of participants on B/F/TAF through week 48 and led to discontinuation in 9 participants through week 48.

CONCLUSIONS: For Black Americans with HIV, switching to B/F/TAF was noninferior to continuing a variety of regimens, including those with pre-existing NRTI mutations.

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