SOUTH AFRICA: HIV prevention drugs raise more questions than answers

More reasons why HIV prevention education makes so much sense.

Who should get pre-exposure prophylaxis? Photo: Georgina Cranston/IRIN

[www.irinnews.org]

JOHANNESBURG, 29 November 2010 (PlusNews) – Recent studies have shown that antiretroviral [ARV] drugs can reduce the risk of HIV-infection but for researchers and governments – the research raises more questions than answers about its implementation.

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published the results of a study to use antiretrovirals as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection among men who have sex with men (MSM).

The iPrEx results come four months after Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) researchers announced their tenofovir-based vaginal gel reduced HIV infections by 39 percent in study participants.

The result will be increased pressure on high HIV-prevalence countries such as South Africa to roll out prevention methods, according to Helen Rees, director of the Wits Institute for Sexual and Reproductive Health, HIV and Related Diseases.

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