WHO: All Gay Men Should Take Antiretroviral Drugs

A pill could cut HIV risk in gay men by up to 25%: WHO
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2014 11:25 AM CDT
WHO: All Gay Men Should Take Antiretroviral Drugs
In this Friday, Feb. 26, 2010 photo, a bottle containing antiretroviral drugs stands on a table in Ukhrul, India.   (AP Photo/Yirmiyan Arthur)

HIV infections are "exploding" among gay men, according to the World Health Organization. In fact, the infection rates are so bad, the organization—for the first time—"strongly recommends men who have sex with men consider taking antiretroviral medicines as an additional method of preventing HIV infection," it announced today. Despite the attention drawn to HIV infections among gay men in the 1980s, WHO's HIV head tells AFP the younger generation is less focused on the disease when, in fact, gay men today are 19 times more likely to contract HIV than the general population.

WHO notes that taking pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP—typically, two antiretrovirals combined into one daily pill—in addition to the use of condoms is estimated to cut HIV incidence among gay men by up to 25% or prevent "up to one million new infections among this group over 10 years." Al Jazeera America reports that when taken consistently, PrEP can cut the risk of HIV infection in high-risk groups with "universally poorer access to health services," including prostitutes and prisoners, by up to 92%. (In other news, a baby apparently "cured" of HIV has tested positive for the virus.)

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