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Daily HIV medications prevent HIV spread

SEATTLE, July 21 (UPI) -- Preliminary findings show a daily pill was found to prevent transmission of HIV among heterosexual men and women, U.S. researchers say.

Principal investigator Dr. Connie Celum, a University of Washington professor of global health and medicine, says those treated with a pre-exposure prophylaxis, PrEP, of tenofovir -- an anti-viral medication to treat human immunodeficiency virus -- in combination with emtricitabine, a medication that slows the spread of HIV, experienced significantly fewer HIV infections than those who received a placebo.

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Researchers at the University of Washington's International Clinical Research Center say the randomized controlled trial involved 4,758 HIV couples, in which one partner has HIV and the other does not, from nine research sites in Kenya and Uganda.

"This study is the largest study to date looking at the effectiveness of PrEP," Celum says in a statement. "This study demonstrates that anti-retrovirals are a highly potent and fundamental cornerstone for HIV prevention and should become an integral part of global efforts for HIV prevention."

Through May 31, a total of 78 HIV infections occurred in the study.

Due to the HIV prevention effect seen, the Data and Safety Monitoring Board recommended the Partners PrEP Study results be made public and the placebo arm of the study be discontinued.

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The findings were presented at the conference of the International AIDS Society.

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