July 8, 2013
Australian researchers from the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) presented findings at the International AIDS Society Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, showing that a lower dose of an HIV drug was effective in keeping the virus suppressed. The investigators followed 630 HIV-positive individuals from 13 countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin America for a year. Half of the study participants took one-third less of the antiretroviral drug efavirenz and the other half took a standard dose of the drug. The study results found that taking one-third less of the drug adequately suppressed the virus without any side effects. According to Sean Emery, UNSW professor, protocol chairperson of the study, and head of the therapeutic and vaccine research program at the Kirby Institute, the study findings have the potential to affect the treatment of millions of HIV positive people -- more individuals could receive treatment for the same amount of funding.