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Daily pill could prevent HIV

Wednesday February 25th, 2015

A daily pill can prevent new HIV infections among gay men, researchers reported last night.

The pill is an antiretroviral medicine called Truvada which is usually used to treat HIV.

The researchers, led by Professor Sheena McCormack of University College London, UK, investigated the possibility of men taking Truvada as a form of pre-exposure prophylaxis.

They explain that about 2,600 new cases of HIV occur each year this group of men. So in 2012 the team recruited 545 participants who were either given the drug straight away or a year later. As the drug appeared so effective at preventing HIV - 86% protection - the deferred group were given it early.

The study was presented yesterday (24 February) at a Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, USA. Professor McCormack says the men who took part in the trial were at very high risk of HIV. She believes the pill is "highly effective in a real world setting", and points out that the sexual health clinics that took part in the study were easily able to integrate it into their routine HIV risk reduction package.

Reported condom use was unaffected, as were rates of other sexually transmitted infections. The pill was well-tolerated and unlikely to lead to drug resistance.

Co-author Dr Richard Gilson said: "Working at a central London sexual health clinic, it is clear to me that there are gay men in the UK who are at high risk of catching HIV infection but who are willing and able to take tablets regularly, which can dramatically reduce their risk of becoming HIV positive."

Tags: Flu & Viruses | Menís Health | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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