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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

THAILAND; UNITED STATES: HIV Drug Can Also Protect Injection Drug Users Press (06.13.2013)

Injecting drug users are at high risk of contracting HIV from needle sharing and sex. A study by CDC and the Thailand government showed that the drug tenofovir, used for treating HIV/AIDS, protected injecting drug users from contracting HIV.

In this study with 2,400 uninfected patients at 17 drug treatment clinics in Bangkok, Thailand, one-half of the participants received daily tenofovir and the other half received placebo. All participants received condoms and counseling on HIV prevention. After four years of follow-up, both groups exhibited equal levels of risky behavior such as needle sharing and multiple sex partners. Results showed that 17 participants contracted HIV in the group that received tenofovir, compared to 33 in the placebo group. This meant that tenofovir treatment reduced the risk of acquiring HIV by 49 percent.

US health officials now recommend that doctors consider prescribing a daily antiretroviral to people who inject drugs similar to current recommendations already in place for gay men and serodiscordant couples at high risk of contracting HIV.

The full report, “Antiretroviral Prophylaxis for HIV Infection in Injecting Drug Users in Bangkok, Thailand (the Bangkok Tenofovir Study): A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Phase 3 Trial,” was published in the journal Lancet (2013; 381 (9883):2083–2090).


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Information in this article was accurate in June 19, 2013. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.