Added by Gary Dunn on July 13, 2011
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.