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Meds Don't Increase Sexual Risks

Meds Don't Increase Sexual Risks

Injection-drug users with HIV do not increase sexual risk-taking after initiating antiretroviral therapy, according to a new Canadian study. Some short-term studies have suggested otherwise, raising concerns that treatment might be associated with users having more unprotected sex and more sex partners.

Of 457 treatment-naive individuals, 202 (44.2%) were women. Between May 1996 and April 2008, 260 (56.7%) initiated antiretroviral therapy. During follow-up interviews, 17% of participants reported unprotected sex, and 27% reported multiple partners. However, participants were no more likely to take sexual risks after ART initiation than before.

"In multivariate analyses, antiretroviral therapy initiation was not associated with sexual activity, unprotected intercourse, or multiple sexual partnerships," the study found.

"In light of this evidence, and given the known positive effect of antiretroviral therapy on survival and its potential role in reducing HIV transmission, concerns regarding potential increases in sexual risk-taking should not undermine the delivery of antiretroviral therapy to injection-drug users," concludes Brandon Marshall, of the University of British Columbia, and colleagues.

The full report, "No Evidence of Increased Sexual Risk Behavior After Initiating Antiretroviral Therapy Among People Who Inject Drugs," was published in the journal AIDS.

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