News / Health

Thailand-US Study Concludes Effectiveness of Daily HIV Medication

Anti-retroviral drug Tenofovir could cut the risk of HIV in half among injected drug users, (File photo).
Anti-retroviral drug Tenofovir could cut the risk of HIV in half among injected drug users, (File photo).
Daniel Schearf
A clinical trial in Thailand has concluded a medication used to treat patients infected with HIV can also act as an effective prevention for all groups at high risk of acquiring the virus that causes AIDS.  The United States-supported study showed the anti-retroviral drug Tenofovir cut the risk of HIV in half among injected drug users, the last high risk group to be tested. 

Researchers from the United States and Thailand said a clinical trial of a medicine to prevent the spread of HIV showed a 49 percent reduction in risk among injected drug users.

Cinical trial

The study of the antiretroviral Tenofovir began in 2005 and involved more than 2,400 men and women who inject drugs but were not infected with HIV.  

Half were given Tenofovir and half a placebo. Both groups received counseling on drug abuse and HIV prevention.  They were then monitored to see how many acquired the virus.

There were 33 HIV infections among those taking the placebo and 17 among those taking the anti-retroviral, a 49 percent reduction in risk.

Trial conclusion

Patients who took the medication most consistently had the highest levels of protection, reducing their risk of infection by 74 percent.

Dr. Michael Martin is chief of HIV research at the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Southeast Asia office.  He said while researchers continue to strive for a vaccine that would offer total protection, Tenofovir offers some of the most significant HIV prevention so far.

"We know that it can prevent HIV infection among people who inject drugs, among men who have sex with men, and among heterosexual couples.  So, this is very good news for public health around the world," said Martin.

Trial background

The study was conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Thailand Ministry of Public Health.

U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney hailed the study as another step forward in U.S.-Thailand cooperation to eradicate HIV. "For twenty years Thailand and the United States have collaborated on HIV/AIDS, on the research, on the prevention, with the shared goal of 100 percent HIV/AIDS free generation," he explained. "And, I think today we're taking another important step in that direction."

Tenofovir was approved for use in the United States for HIV treatment in 2001 but was only recently proven effective for prevention.

A 2010 study in the U.S. showed, in combination with another drug, it reduced the risk of HIV infection among men who have sex with men by 44 percent.  Testing in Botswana, Kenya, and Uganda demonstrated effectiveness among heterosexual couples and where one partner was infected with HIV.

Injected drug users were the last high risk group to be tested with Tenofovir in the Bangkok clinical trial.  

Injected drug use accounts for up to 80 percent of new HIV infections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, eight percent in the United States, and about ten percent worldwide.

Dr. Kachit Choopanya is principal investigator for the study.  He said now that Tenofovir is proven effective for all high risk groups, it is up to governments to bring it into their health care systems. "And, we can save their life…I think everyone, not just Thailand, every country, should do this together," he stated.

An estimated 30 to 50 percent of injected drug users in Thailand are living with HIV.  

Those who participated in the trial reported a decrease in injected drug use, sharing needles, and unprotected sex.  Researchers said that indicates that counseling and education on HIV continues to be one of the most effective forms of prevention.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid