(HealthDay News) – For injecting drug users, daily oral use of an antiretroviral, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (tenofovir), can reduce the risk of HIV transmission, according to a study published online June 13 in The Lancet.

Kachit Choopanya, MD, from Bangkok Tenofovir Study Group, and colleagues conducted a randomized double-blind trial involving 2,413 volunteers from drug-treatment clinics to examine whether daily oral use of tenofovir can reduce HIV transmission. Participants were randomized to tenofovir (1,204 participants) or placebo (1,209 participants) between June 9, 2005, and July 22, 2010.

The researchers found that two participants had HIV at enrollment. Fifty participants became infected during follow-up: 17 in the tenofovir group and 33 in the placebo group (incidence, 0.35 vs. 0.68 per 100 person-years; reduction of 48.9%). The incidence of serious adverse events was not significantly different in the two groups (P=0.35). In the tenofovir group, nausea was significantly more common.

“On the basis of the results of this study, regulatory and public health authorities can now consider whether pre-exposure prophylaxis with tenofovir should be part of an HIV prevention package to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who inject drugs,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Gilead Sciences, which manufactures tenofovir and donated the study drugs.

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