HIV/Aids

23 July 2008

HIV drugs may prevent infection

Researchers in South Africa and elsewhere are investigating whether taking Aids drugs daily can prevent HIV infection among high-risk gay and bisexual men.

0
Researchers in South Africa and elsewhere are investigating whether taking Aids drugs daily can prevent HIV infection among high-risk gay and bisexual men, in the latest effort to combat the epidemic.

In a study launched on Tuesday, researchers want to find out whether antiretroviral drugs normally used by people already infected with HIV can protect those at high risk of infection, a concept referred to as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

“It’s early days, but very exciting. It’s another strategy, it gives us hope that maybe we can beat this epidemic,” researcher Linda-Gail Bekker told Reuters.

High-risk population
The study targets men who have sex with other men because they have been found to be at higher risk of HIV infection than other sexual groups.

South Africa has one of the world’s highest incidences of the HIV, which can lead to Aids, with an estimated 500 000 people infected each year. About 1 000 die every day from AIDS-related illnesses.

“In terms of concept... it (PrEP) looks like it has a chance of working,” Bekker said, likening it to oral contraceptives used to help prevent pregnancy.

“I’m not sure that it’s going to be the silver bullet, I doubt that. I think it’s going to be, hopefully, another strategy in our armour,” she added.

South Africa is the only African country selected to participate in the international study, which includes Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Thailand and the United States.

Results from the global PrEP study, which will enroll 3 000 high risk men who have sex with men, are expected towards the end of 2010. – (Reuters Health)

Read more:
HIV and gay sex
HIV/Aids Centre

July 2008

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

HIV/Aids expert

Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria before working for an HIV/AIDS NPO in Soweto for many years. She was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules