Study shows pills prevent HIV, as drug access increases

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Daily pills can help to prevent the HIV/AIDS infection in heterosexual men and women, two new African studies have found. The research projects, which...

Daily pills can help to prevent the HIV/AIDS infection in heterosexual men and women, two new African studies have found.

The research projects, which were conducted in Botswana, Kenya and Uganda by the University of Washington and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, found that the pills reduced the risk of HIV infection by up to 63 percent.

These results come as a US pharmaceutical company has made a deal to increase access to HIV/AIDS treatment drugs in developing countries across the world.

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Working together with the Medicines Patent Poll, pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences has signed a deal which will see four HIV drug treatments reproduced in a low-cost copycat format.    

It is a groundbreaking deal as two of the drugs are still in clinical development and include the Quad, a much anticipated single-pill medication treatment.

The already established HIV medications of tenofovir and emtricitabine are also included in the licensing agreement.

Ellen ‘t Hoen, the Executive Director of the Pool, said: “Today marks a milestone in managing patents for public health.”

“The licence agreement with Gilead Sciences will help make medicines available at a lower cost and in easier-to-use formulations without delays.”

She added: “People in developing countries often have to wait for years before they can access new health technologies. Today's agreement changed that.”

The medicines that were used in the African trials were HIV drugs manufactured by Gilead Sciences.

As part of the studies, participants were given either an HIV drug or a placebo alternative.

However, as it emerged the drugs were so successful in reducing the infection risk, the placebo arm of the study was cut short so those participants could also benefit from the effects of the specific HIV medication. 

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