News / Health

Anti-AIDS Drug Reduces Risk of HIV Transmission

Multimedia

A daily dose of an antiretroviral drug used to treat AIDS patients reduced the risk of HIV transmission by nearly 44 percent in a large international study of uninfected homosexual men and transgender men who have sex with men. Scientists say that although the results are very encouraging, more studies are needed to confirm the findings among other high risk populations.

The Chemoprophylaxis for HIV Prevention in Men, or iPrEX study, recruited 2,500 HIV negative or uninfected men in Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, South Africa, Thailand and the United States in 2007 to receive the antiretroviral drug Truvada or a placebo.

Truvada is a compound made up of two widely available generic AIDS drugs - tenofavir and emtricitabine.

At the end of the 14 month study, 100 men had acquired HIV. But there were 43.8 percent fewer infections among men in the treatment group than in the group that received the sugar pill.

Watch Melinda Smith's Companion TV Report:

More striking, researchers say, was a 73 percent lower risk of infection among men who adhered most closely to the daily drug regimen.

"The bottom line is that this is a very significant finding in the quest toward developing more comprehensive ways of preventing HIV infection," said Anthony Fauci, director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which sponsored the study led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Fauci says more studies will be conducted to learn whether the drug works just as well to prevent HIV transmission among other high-risk individuals, including heterosexuals, in countries where infection with the AIDS virus has reached near-epidemic proportions.

"Men who have sex with men, as we know, are at the higher level of risk among people who acquire HIV infection.  And so if it works in these individuals, it is very likely we will see similar results in women as well as heterosexual men," he said.

"The results are very encouraging.  And this study really represents a major advance in HIV prevention research," said Kevin Fenton, Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.

But Dr. Fenton cautions that daily doses of Truvada, which cost between $5,000 and $7,000 per year in the United States, are unlikely to be widely available in the developing world -- at least, not right away.

He says he expects researchers will begin exploring the effectiveness of using less expensive antiretroviral drugs to protect high risk individuals.

Dr. Fenton says that any drug therapy, known as preexposure chemoprophylaxis, or PrEP, will need to be combined with other well-established prevention strategies to lower the risk of HIV transmission. "The reality is that PrEP is not going to be right for everyone.  It's not 100 percent effective.  And when it is used, it will have to be used in partnership with very comprehensive monitoring, support and prevention services," he said.

Dr. Fenton says such services include regular testing for other sexually-transmitted diseases that put individuals at higher risk for HIV infection, and education about risky lifestyle behaviors, such as drug abuse and unsafe sexual practices.

An article detailing the findings of the Chemoprophylaxis for HIV Prevention in Men study is published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs