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High-risk populations may not have to wait for a positive HIV test to begin taking antiretroviral medications. A new study has found that these drugs may prevent HIV infections in the first place.
Certain demographics, such as men who have sex with men, African Americans and individuals who live in areas with a high rate of HIV, are significantly more likely to contract the infections. However, medications to prevent this could significantly slow the rate of transition.
In a large scale study among men who have sex with men, one of the leading risk groups, researchers from the Microbicide Trials Network found that treating individuals with antiretroviral medications reduced the number of new HIV infections by 44 percent.
"The findings of this study have immense implications for the entire HIV prevention field, but most notably for global efforts focused on the population of men who have sex with men engaging in unprotected receptive anal intercourse,” said Ian McGowan, who led the study. “We clearly must find ways to prevent HIV infection via this route of transmission.”
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