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Herpes Drug That Lowers HIV Virus in Patients' Blood Does Not Reduce Transmission Rates, Study Finds

February 9, 2010

"Treating herpes in people who are also infected with HIV does not reduce the chances that they will pass on the AIDS virus," according to a study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, the New York Times reports. Though the herpes drug acyclovir lowers the level of HIV in patients' blood, for reasons yet unknown to scientists, the study of 3,400 couples from 14 sites across Africa found there was no difference in the transmission rates between those who received the drug and those who took a placebo. "While acyclovir is cheaper than antiretroviral drugs and has fewer side effects, 'new strategies are needed' to stop AIDS transmission, the authors concluded," the newspaper writes (McNeil, 2/8).

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