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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Antiretrovirals Prevent HIV Contraction

English: Logo of the Centers for Disease Contr...
I.V. drug users have long been the highest risk candidates to contract H.I.V and Hepatitis C. Fortunately, it has become easier for addicts to get their hands on clean needles which has lowered contraction rates. New research has shown that people who inject drugs can lower their risk of developing HIV by half if they take antiretroviral medication according to a new study, The New York Times reports.

What is known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), is the first evidence that the treatment offers greater protection to people exposed to HIV. The study found the treatment can prevent AIDS in every group at risk for the disease.

2,400 drug users in Thailand took part in the new study. Study participants that took the drug tenofovir, which is currently used to treat people infected with HIV, were 49 percent less likely to become infected with HIV than those who did not take the medication. Researchers found that those who took the drug on a regular basis showed even better results, they were 74 percent less likely to become infected with HIV. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supported the research.

Each month participants stayed active in the trial and received daily pills under a nurse’s supervision, study participants received $8.75. They received an additional $8.75 for each week they showed up every day, plus $1.90 for every day they came. The participants who did not take the drugs came in once a month, being paid to keep diaries of their drug use.

“This is a significant step forward for HIV prevention. We now know that PrEP can work for all populations at increased risk for HIV,” Jonathan Mermin, MD, Director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, said in a news release. “Injection drug use accounts for a substantial portion of the HIV epidemic around the world, and we are hopeful that PrEP can play a role in reducing the continued toll of HIV infection in this population.”

The study is published in The Lancet.
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