Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antiretroviral Drugs May Protect Against Sexual Transmission Of HIV

Date:
February 7, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
A new study in macaques suggests that antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV could also protect people from getting the AIDS virus, especially if two drugs are taken in combination before exposure to the virus occurs. The study found that macaques which were repeatedly exposed to SHIV (a virus closely related to HIV) but received antiretroviral drugs were less likely to become infected than exposed macaques that received no anti-HIV medication. The best protection was seen in macaques that had received a combination of two drugs.

A new study in macaques suggests that antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV could also protect people from getting the AIDS virus, especially if two drugs are taken in combination before exposure to the virus occurs.
Credit: iStockphoto/Claire George

A new study in macaques suggests that antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV could also protect people from getting the AIDS virus, especially if two drugs are taken in combination before exposure to the virus occurs.

The study found that macaques which were repeatedly exposed to SHIV (a virus closely related to HIV) but received antiretroviral drugs were less likely to become infected than exposed macaques that received no anti-HIV medication. The best protection was seen in macaques that had received a combination of two drugs. The study, led by Josι Gerardo Garcνa-Lerma and Walid Heneine from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the culmination of a series of experiments designed to show how similar studies in humans -- some of which are planned and in progress -- can be optimally designed.

Although HIV treatment has rapidly advanced since the introduction of antiretroviral drugs in the 1990s, the absence of an effective vaccine means the virus continues to spread, infecting 2.5 million people each year. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) -- the prevention of infection by treating people with drugs before they are exposed to the germ in question -- is often used to prevent malaria, but has not yet been shown to be effective against sexual transmission of HIV.

To simulate a common route of HIV transmission in humans, the researchers exposed the macaques to low weekly doses of SHIV that were given rectally. Five groups of macaques were all exposed to the virus in the same way, but they were given different dosages and combinations of antiretroviral drugs. Three groups received drugs daily: the first was only injected with one anti-HIV drug, emtricitabine (FTC); the second group received a daily dose of this drug by mouth in combination with an oral form of another anti-HIV drug called tenofovir; the third was injected with FTC and a high dose of tenofovir every day. A fourth group was also injected with FTC and a high dose of tenofovir, but macaques in this group were only treated shortly before and after the weekly exposures to HIV. For comparison a fifth group of macaques received no anti-HIV drugs.

The results showed that macaques from any of the four groups that received drugs were less likely to become infected than those in the fifth (control) group. All of the macaques receiving the combination of both FTC and the high dosage of tenofovir were protected from infection -- whether they were from the group that received these drugs daily, or only around the time of exposure to infection. The results suggest that higher doses and combinations of drugs worked better than single or low doses, and also that PrEP may not need to be taken every day to be effective.

The researchers also observed some risks that emphasize the need for careful design of human PrEP studies. They found some viral resistance to one of the drugs, FTC, in macaques that became infected. In addition, doses of tenofovir that resulted in maximum protection for macaques are higher than would be safe in humans.

In a related perspective article, Myron Cohen and Angela Kashuba from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC, USA), uninvolved with the study, note that the results "highlight an exciting and potentially important use" of antiretroviral drugs to prevent sexual transmission of HIV.

Journal citation: Garcνa-Lerma JG, Otten RA, Qari SH, Jackson E, Cong M, et al. (2008) Prevention of rectal SHIV transmission in macaques by daily or intermittent prophylaxis with emtricitabine and tenofovir. PLoS Med 5(2): e28. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050028 http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050028


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Antiretroviral Drugs May Protect Against Sexual Transmission Of HIV." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204212902.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, February 7). Antiretroviral Drugs May Protect Against Sexual Transmission Of HIV. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204212902.htm
Public Library of Science. "Antiretroviral Drugs May Protect Against Sexual Transmission Of HIV." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204212902.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins