Researchers have hit on what some are calling the first major breakthrough in AIDS prevention medication. By combining two HIV drugs, they’ve created a pill that reduces the risk of contracting the virus by an average of 44%, and by more than 70% if subjects were conscientious about taking it, the LA Times reports. The study was conducted on a group of 2,500 high-risk gay men, but scientists see no reason it wouldn’t work in other populations as well.
The study comes on the heels of an African study showing that a microbicidal gel could help protect women from the disease, and a little over a year after a promising vaccine trial. “To see all these prevention strategies come together, we can begin to see an end to the epidemic,” said a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Indeed, a UNAID report yesterday revealed that more than 1.2 million people began taking anti-HIV therapies last year, a 30% increase. (Read more HIV/AIDS stories.)