A drug which could protect men at high risk of contracting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is safe but needs more testing to determine its efficiency, according to research.
Tests for Gilead’s drug tenofovir have shown no safety concerns among gay and bisexual men without HIV in the US, said scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The research was one of many studies around the world to test if taking a daily antiretroviral drug will prevent HIV infection in high risk groups such as homosexual men, a technique called pre-exposure prophylaxis.
Study leader Lisa Grohskopf presented the findings to the International AIDS Conference in Vienna. She said: “We didn’t find any increased risk of harm in medical terms, and on the behavioural side the preliminary work we’ve done also suggests there is no increased risk.”
Previously, scientists found Gilead’s tenofovir was safe to use in heterosexual women in Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria who had a high infection risk.
About 33.4 million people on the planet live with HIV, and more than 2.7 million cases of the infection occur each year.
Copyright Press Association 2010