June 12th, 2013
06:01 PM ET
Antiviral drugs help prevent HIV infection in IV drug users
Treating intravenous drug users with antiviral drugs may reduce their chances of HIV infection, according to a new study published Wednesday in the British medical journal The Lancet.
The Bangkok Tenofovir Study was done in Bangkok, Thailand, from 2005-2013. It was run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with the Thailand Ministry of Public Health.
Researchers recruited more than 24,000 people at 17 sites. Half took the pill tenofovir - an antiretroviral drug - daily, while the other half got a placebo. Participants were followed for about four years. Researchers found those taking the drug cut their chances of infection by 49% almost in half - approximately 49%.
This is not the first study to prove that PrEP - pre-exposure prophylaxis - is effective in reducing HIV transmission in high risk groups. Studies have already been done in heterosexuals as well as gay and bisexual men. But according to the CDC, this is the first study of its kind to prove effective in reducing rates among those who inject drugs.
“This study completes the picture of PrEP efficacy for all major HIV risk groups," said Dr. Michael Martin, chief of clinical research for the Thailand Ministry of Public Health-CDC collaboration. "We now know that pre-exposure prophylaxis can be a potentially vital option for HIV prevention in people at very high risk for infection, whether through sexual transmission or injecting drug use.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, "The real important advance here is the proof of concept that in yet another high risk group - IV-drug users - pre-exposure prophylaxis can work if the individuals adhere to taking the drug."
The study found that the reduction rate for those who took their daily dose routinely was even higher - 74%.
“Adherence was a key factor determining efficacy in our trial among people who inject drugs, as it has been in previous PrEP trials examining sexual transmission,” said Martin. “These results underscore the importance of helping people using pre-exposure prophylaxis achieve effective levels of adherence.”
It can often be difficult to directly attribute the antiviral drug's protective effect on people who get infected by injecting drugs, said Salim Karim, professor and director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. That's because, he says, some IV drug users engage in risky behavior such as prostitution to support their drug habit.
“Even though questions remain about the extent to which PrEP can be effective in preventing either of the routes of transmission in this group, the overall result is that daily tenofovir does reduce HIV transmission in injecting drug users," Karim said. "The introduction of PrEP for HIV prevention in injecting drug users should be considered as an additional component to accompany other proven prevention strategies like needle exchange programmes, methadone programmes, promotion of safer sex and injecting practices, condoms, and HIV counseling and testing.”
UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, called the study results a complement to other PrEP trials released over the past few years.
“Piece by piece, scientific advances are paving the way to the end of the AIDS epidemic,” said Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS executive director. “The full potential of antiretroviral therapy in keeping people alive and well and in preventing new HIV infections is becoming apparent. The results of this study are important, and if used effectively in HIV programming, could have a significant impact in protecting people who inject drugs from becoming infected with HIV.”
So far, all evidence suggests PrEP is safe and effective for reducing the risk of HIV infection in high-risk populations, and there have been no concerns regarding its use daily, the CDC says.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
Excellent blog you have here.. Itís hard to find high quality writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!
I used to be able to find good info from your articles.
An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but typically folks don't speak about such topics. To the next! Best wishes!!
Your style is so unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this web site.
You are so awesome! I do not suppose I have read anything like this before. So great to find someone with original thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with some originality!
A motivating discussion is worth comment. I think that you ought to write more on this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but generally people don't discuss such issues. To the next! Kind regards!!
Having read this I believed it was really enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!
Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your website is very helpful. Thank you for sharing!
There is definately a lot to know about this issue. I like all of the points you made.
After looking at a number of the articles on your site, I really appreciate your way of writing a blog. I added it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site as well and let me know your opinion.
After going over a number of the blog posts on your site, I seriously appreciate your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my web site as well and tell me what you think.
Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It is the little changes that make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!
I really like it when individuals come together and share views. Great site, stick with it!
Hello! I could have sworn Iíve visited this website before but after going through a few of the posts I realized itís new to me. Anyhow, Iím certainly delighted I stumbled upon it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back often!
Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful article. Many thanks for supplying these details.
I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website. I really hope to check out the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own blog now 😉
I blog quite often and I truly appreciate your content. This article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new details about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.
I want to to thank you for this great read!! I absolutely loved every little bit of it. I've got you book marked to check out new stuff you postÖ
Hi there! I just would like to give you a huge thumbs up for your great info you have right here on this post. I am coming back to your website for more soon.
Very good post. I certainly love this site. Keep writing!
Itís hard to find educated people on this topic, however, you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks