World Health Organisation recommends that all gay men should take antiretroviral medicine to halt HIV epidemic

Studies show that antiretroviral drug use can reduce the chance of passing on HIV by up to 92 per cent

The World Health Organisation has announced for the first time that all men who have sex with men should take antiretroviral drugs, in a bid to try and contain the growing rates of HIV in gay communities around the world.

In a report published on Friday, the WHO made “strong recommendations” that all men who have sex with men should seriously consider taking antiretroviral medicine “as an additional method of preventing the HIV infection from spreading”, even if they haven’t got the virus themselves.

The report says that in addition to other forms of protection like condoms and regular testing, increased use of antiretroviral drugs in the gay community could have a significant impact in stopping the spread of HIV and could prevent a million new infections in the next ten years, according to the WHO.

In the report, it says that homosexual men are 19 times more likely to have HIV than the rest of the population, and it is believed that encouraging gay men to take the antiretroviral medicine could decrease this significantly.

According to the report, HIV rates in gay communities are still on the rise According to the report, HIV rates in gay communities are still on the rise Some scientists predict that the antiretroviral drug use for all gay men could lower the spread of HIV by 20 to 25 per cent.

Speaking after the release of the report, Gottfried Hirnschall, who heads WHO’s HIV department, said that they were seeing an “exploding epidemic” when it came to HIV rates in the gay community around the world.

He said this was largely down to a more relaxed attitude to HIV, which were the result of new drugs that made it possible to live with the disease.

Read More Stories: Doctors hope for HIV cure shattered
Thousands of HIV patients go hungry as benefit cuts hit

He said that antiretroviral drugs could help stop this growth and supported the WHO’s recommendations.

A number of studies looking into the impact antiretroviral drugs have on preventing the transmission of HIV have shown that those who regularly take the drug have a significantly smaller chance of contracting or passing on the virus.

The Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis as HIV Prevention Among Men who Have Sex with Men (Iprex) study published in 2010, the most in-depth study into this area,  found that the use of antiretroviral drugs could reduce the risk of infection in men who have sex with men by up to 92 per cent.

As well as looking at how to best prevent the spread of HIV in the gay community, the report also focussed on other high-risk groups including transgender women, sex workers and people that inject drugs.

According to the study, transgender women and those that inject drugs are 50 times more likely to catch HIV, while sex workers are 14 times more likely to get the disease when compared with the rest of the population.

The report recommended that national agencies that deal with preventing the spread of HIV should spend more time focusing on these groups as they account for just under half of all new HIV infections worldwide.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

    Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

    £16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

    Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

    £7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

    Tribal gathering

    Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

    Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
    10 best trays

    Get carried away with 10 best trays

    Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
    Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?