A new study has found that taking an aspirin daily could lower women’s risk of getting infected with HIV by 35 per cent. The Canadian study has also revealed that anti-inflammatory drugs reduce HIV risk.HIV requires “target cells” in the genital tract to infect a person.
Previous studies show that inflammation increases the number of those cells.
The researchers at the University of Manitoba, Canada, tested this theory by administering a low dose of the anti-inflammatory drug to a group of women in Kenya, said MailOnline.
The women were all low-risk HIV negative women living across Kenya.
“The results were stark: after six weeks, the number of HIV target cells in their genital tracts had reduced by 35 per cent. And now, several years after starting the study, all of the women who received the prescription remain uninfected,” it said.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Keith Fowke, said the results were highly promising.
“The reduced number of HIV target cells in the women who took Aspirin approached the level found in Kenyan women at high risk of HIV contraction who have remained uninfected for many years,” he said.
They were not exposed to HIV during the study, rather they were monitored to see how their levels of HIV target cells changed.
Dr. Fowke said it was highly improbable that aspirin had the capability to be used as a preventative measure on its own.
There are already drugs on the market globally: like pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) that drastically reduces the risk of infection.
He said the study showed that sexually active people – particularly those with high risk of contracting HIV – should consider adding aspirin to their protective measures, like condom and PrEP.
He added that further study was needed to explore its range of benefits and flaws.
“What we need to do is show that we can observe the same thing, the same effect in women that are highly exposed to HIV. And we also need to know if there’s a different dose that maybe can do it better,” he said.