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Study shows HIV postexposure prophylaxis doesn't increase risky sex

Study shows HIV postexposure prophylaxis doesn't increase risky sex

Gay men given anti-HIV drugs after high-risk sex to prevent possible HIV infection are not more likely to engage in unprotected sex than gay men for whom postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) is not available, according to a study by Brazilian researchers. The scientists studied 68 men offered PEP and 86 who did not take the drugs after reporting at least one high-risk sex act during the course of the study. The study showed that there was no difference between the average number of sex partners or average number of high-risk sex acts between PEP users and nonusers both six months before the study began and six months after the last PEP doses were available. "PEP is safe, and most people don't start practicing unsafe sex just because PEP is available," the researchers told Reuters Health. But they note that PEP is not likely to have a major impact on the global epidemic, particularly in developing nations where most people can't afford anti-HIV drugs, "and thus [PEP] has to be viewed as just one more tool to prevent infection." The full study appears in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

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