London: A new study called iPrEx has shown that use of HIV medications reduces the risk of infection in uninfected people by 44 percent.
The study is the first evidence that this new HIV prevention method, called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, reduces the risk of infection in people.
All study participants received a comprehensive package of prevention services designed to reduce their risk of HIV infection throughout the trial, including HIV testing, intensive safer sex counselling, condoms and treatment and care for sexually transmitted infections.
Half of study participants also received the PrEP pill, while the other half received a placebo.
The average reduction in HIV infection risk of 43.8 percent included all study participants – even those who did not take the daily pill consistently.
The iPrEx study found that PrEP was more protective among those who reported taking the pill more regularly.
"The iPrEx study proves that PrEP provides important additional protection against HIV when offered with other prevention methods such as HIV testing, counseling, condom use and management of sexually transmitted infections," said iPrEx Protocol Chair Robert Grant.
“As with other prevention methods, the greatest protection comes with consistent use. I hope this finding inspires a renewed commitment from communities, industry and government to stop the spread of HIV,” he added.
The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.