Herpes med does not cut HIV transmission risk

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London, Jan 21 (ANI): Acyclovir, a drug widely used as a safe and effective treatment taken twice daily to suppress herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2), does not reduce the risk of HIV transmission when taken by people infected with both HIV and HSV-2, a new study has found.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study took place at 14 sites in seven countries in eastern and southern Africa (Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia).

Around 9 in 10 people with HIV infection also have HSV-2 infection. Most people who are infected with HSV-2 do not know they have the virus because symptoms can be mild or absent. HSV-2 infection can cause recurrent sores and breaks in the skin of the genital region, which can be mild and often go unnoticed. HSV-2 infection also attracts immune cells called CD4 T-cells to the genital region, which HIV uses to establish or pass infection.

The Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission Study, which was led by the University of Washington in Seattle and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was conducted among 3,408 African HIV serodiscordant couples, in which one partner had HIV and the other did not. In all the couples, the partner who had HIV also had HSV-2 infection. (ANI)

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