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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

HIGH DEMAND 4 HIV MEDS AFTER HIGH-RISK SEX


People who do not have HIV but seek antiretroviral medications following high-risk sexual encounters are very likely to complete the full month-long drug regimen, according to a new UCLA AIDS Institute study. The researchers recommend that the city of Los Angeles make post-exposure HIV prophylaxis available to those who have engaged in high-risk sex. This is a common practice for health care workers who inadvertently stick themselves with needles. Steven Shoptaw, professor of family medicine and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a member of the UCLA AIDS Institute, referring to the study in a press release, said this is a socio-economic issue because such a program would provide care for people who cannot normally afford it. "It is our belief that we have a responsibility to provide that level of protection to all our citizens," Shoptaw said in the statement. "These data show that when this kind of prevention is made available, the at-risk community will access and use it." Researchers based their conclusions on a study of 100 people who received HIV medication after unprotected, high-risk sex. Each participant was given 28 days' worth of lamivudine and zidovudine as well as HIV tests and physical examinations, and was scheduled for a follow-up visit 26 weeks later. Participants were highly educated in general; 63% were gay, and 95% were male. Of the participants, 75% completed the month-long drug treatment, and none was found to have contracted HIV. "We have 2,000-plus HIV infections in this county every year, and that rate has been stable for a number of years, which signifies that behavioral prevention has reached its peak," Shoptaw said. "Having post-exposure prophylaxis available may provide another arrow in the quiver to prevent new HIV infections." (The Advocate)

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