AIDS Breakthrough? Study Reveals New Info on HIV Drugs

New study suggests that antiretroviral drugs are pulling double duty -- as both HIV-treatment medicine and a prevention tool.

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Preliminary results from a cross-country study suggests that antiretroviral drugs, used to treat HIV patients, have the added benefit of making the disease far less infectious.

The study, which followed nearly 2,000 couples (each couple was made up of one person who had HIV and one who didn't),  according to the Wall Street Journal "confirms a growing body of less rigorous research and is likely to inject new urgency into treatment campaigns, especially in Africa, home to two thirds of the more than 33 million people estimated to have HIV world-wide." The results should breathe new life into treatment campaigns and perhaps bring an end to a disagreement within the "AIDS world" over how much money to allocate to antiretroviral drugs. As of 2009, while 5 million people took the (very expensive) drugs, 10 million more needed them.

Despite the promising news, the same safe-sex measures we've always been taught should be taken. And researchers warn that 97 percent of the couples in the study were heterosexual, and the new findings don't necessarly apply to gay couples. Nevertheless, in this decades-long fight to squash this awful epidemic, news like this is always good.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

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Lauren is a former Deputy Editor of The Root.