NAIROBI — A daily dose of anti-HIV medication almost eradicates the risk of infection for people in a relationship with an HIV-positive partner, a study presented this week in Africa showed, raising hopes of reducing HIV rates among one of Africa’s highest risk groups, Reuters reports.
More than 1,000 Kenyan and Ugandan couples took part in the two-year project where the HIV positive partner, two-thirds of whom were women, took antiretroviral therapy and the HIV negative one took pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
“HIV was virtually eliminated in this population,” the lead researcher, Jared Baeten of the University of Washington, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone. “More than 95 percent of the HIV infections that we expected to see, we did not see.”
The results were announced on Tuesday at the Durban International AIDS Conference in South Africa, where delegates are discussing the U.N. target of ending AIDS as a global health crisis by 2030.
South Africa has the world’s largest population of people living with HIV, accounting for 6.8 million of the 36.7 million infected globally, Reuters reports.
Another study, the ongoing PARTNER study published in the July edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, produced similar findings.
More than 1100 mixed-status couples, where one partner is HIV-negative and the other is living with HIV and on anti-retroviral therapy, were enrolled in the study. Researchers found no linked cases of HIV transmission despite 58,000 instances of condomless sex among the couples, the Association reports.
About 38 percent of the couples enrolled were same-sex male couples. Although 10 men in the MSM couples became HIV-positive, there were no documented cases of within-couple HIV transmission during sex without condoms, the Association reports.