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The World in Medicine
March 21, 2007

Herpes Drug and HIV Spread

JAMA. 2007;297(11):1182. doi:10.1001/jama.297.11.1182-b

A drug used to help control genital herpes also significantly reduces the levels of HIV in women infected with both viruses, according to a team of researchers from Burkina Faso, England, and France (Nagot N et al. N Engl J Med. 2007;356:790-799).

The randomized controlled trial involved 140 women infected with both HIV and herpes simplex virus type 2. Compared with women receiving placebo, women who took the drug valacyclovir had significantly lower levels of HIV in their plasma and genital secretions. The effect steadily increased over time, suggesting that longer treatment might have reduced HIV levels even more, the authors said.

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