HIV drug can also protect injection drug users

Dr. Lisa Sterman holds up a Truvada pill at her office in San Francisco on Thursday, May 10, 2012. Sterman prescribes Truvada off-label for about a dozen patients at high risk for developing AIDS. On Wednesday, June 12, 2013, U.S. health officials said the drug is an option for preventing infection in people who inject illegal drugs. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Dr. Lisa Sterman holds up a Truvada pill at her office in San Francisco on Thursday, May 10, 2012. Sterman prescribes Truvada off-label for about a dozen patients at high risk for developing AIDS. On Wednesday, June 12, 2013, U.S. health officials said the drug is an option for preventing infection in people who inject illegal drugs. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

ATLANTA (AP) — U.S. health officials say doctors should consider giving a daily AIDS drug to another high risk group to prevent infection — people who shoot heroin, methamphetamines or other injection drugs.

A similar recommendation is already in place for gay men and heterosexual couples.

The new advice was triggered by a study done in Thailand. Drug users who took the daily pill were about 50 percent less likely to become infected with HIV than those given a dummy pill.

Drug users represent about 1 in 13 new infections in the U.S. but they account for the majority of cases in Eastern Europe and central Asia.

The research was done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Thai government. The findings were released Wednesday by the journal Lancet.

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