AIDS drugs shown to prevent infection

Added by on July 13, 2011

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Two studies released Wednesday reveal that drugs used to treat AIDS can prevent heterosexuals from acquiring HIV.

The studies, conducted in different African countries, found that a regimen of antiretroviral drugs given to heterosexuals reduced the risk of HIV infection by 62% or more. One study examined more than 4,000 couples where one partner had HIV and found that those who took a daily dose of a drug called Tenofovir resulted in 62% fewer infections, as compared to those taking placebo. Those that combined Tenofovir with another drug called Emtricitabine resulted in 73% fewer infections.

The study was scheduled to complete in late 2012, yet after reviewing the on-going results an independent monitoring board decided to halt the trial because of the strong results. “We’re stopping a year and a half early . . . because the results were so powerful” said Dr. Jared Baeten, co-chair of one of the studies led by researchers at the University of Washington International Clinical Research Center.

The research is based on the results of a disease management technique called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. PrEP was previously shown to reduce infection rates among gay men taking AIDS drugs.