For the first time in history, The World Health Organisation has announced that all men who have sex with men should take antiretroviral drugs, in an attempt to contain the “exploding HIV epidemic” of new cases in gay communities worldwide.
According to The Independent, the report published last Friday made “strong recommendations” that all men who have sex with men should seriously consider taking the medication as “an additional method of preventing the HIV infection from spreading”, even if they haven’t got the virus themselves.
According to WHO, in addition to the use of condoms and regular testing, increased use of antiretroviral drugs could have a major impact in preventing the spread of HIV, and prevent a million new infections in the next decade.
The findings outlined that gay men are 19 times more likely to have HIV than the rest of the population.
Gottfriend Hirnschall, head of WHO’s HIV department, said that the growing rates are down to a move relaxed attitude to HIV, which he claims is a result of drugs being available that make it possible to live with the disease.
A largest study thus far on the subject in 2010, The Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis as HIV Prevention Among Men who Have Sex with Men (Iprex), found that the use of the drugs could reduce the risk of new cases by up to 92 per cent.
The report also recognised that transgender women and those who inject drugs are 50 times more likely to catch HIV, with sex workers being 14 times more likely to contract the disease than the rest of the population.
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