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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora