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Medication may offer cost-effective approach to HIV prevention

Category: HIV

Administering preventive HIV medications to high-risk groups could greatly reduce the number of individuals who receive positive STD tests for the infection, according to a new study. This approach could represent a cost-effective strategy if the medications are given to the right groups.

The Stanford University researchers who conducted the study said that the combination medication tenofovir-emtricitabine has been shown to cut a person's risk of being infected with HIV by up to 44 percent when taken daily. The drug could present major potential for curbing the number of people who contract the virus, but it may not make economic sense to provide it to everyone.

For the study, the team created economic models of the cost of providing the drug to people. They found that it made the greatest impact in HIV rates when administered to men who have sex with men. This group receives about half of all new HIV diagnoses each year.

"Adopting [the medication] for men who have sex with men at high risk of acquiring HIV, however, is an investment with good value that does not break the bank," said lead researcher Jessie Juusola.

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