You cannot blame Avast for letting through a trojan, if your friend doesn't practice safe browsing habits while on the web and external mediums.I don´t use Avast, but I used to found it very effective until a friend's PC were infected by a trojan horse, and Avast didn't even detect it.
Although, since many years I saw near friends PCs with free AV installed get infected, and I have been using Norton since long time, and I have never had any problems.
Your comment regarding Free vs Paid security is untrue. First off, you friends have previously been careless to install malware. Second, your browsing habits differ to your friends' habits. That itself makes a huge difference between a clean vs infected PC.