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  • The journal recommends the drug combination be paired with condom use.

    The journal recommends the drug combination be paired with condom use.

Intravenous drug users are among the highest-risk group – they are 59 times more susceptible to contracting HIV.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ, recommends the combination of PrEP (a pre-exposure prophylaxis drug) and nPEP (a non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis) as significantly effective in preventing the contraction of HIV.

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"There are new biomedical HIV prevention strategies that have been widely endorsed worldwide by organizations including the WHO (World Health Organization), U.S. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and others," study author, Darrell Tan, told EureakAlert.

The combination of PrEP and nPEP is less costly and more accessible, according to the study.

"To date, the cost of these medications has restricted the feasibility and acceptability of these strategies," Tan added.

"However, the recent introduction of generic versions of antiretroviral medications, as well as increasing availability of public drug coverage for PrEP in Canada may have a substantial effect on their uptake."

Dr. Tan is an infectious disease physician and scientist at St. Michael's Hospital, said: "PrEP is a highly effective and safe Health Canada-approved method that involves taking a daily pill, which, if taken properly, can offer almost 100 percent protection against new HIV infection."

The journal recommends that the drug combination is paired with condom use and other safe sexual practices.

In addition to people who participate in risky encounters and or have anal sex, intravenous drug users are among the highest-risk group – they are 59 times more susceptible to HIV.

Tan added that the introduction and availability of the generic versions will put Canada on par with the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.

The New Zealand AIDS Foundation joins the campaign for PrEP being funded, which it says would be a "game-changer." In 2016, the oceanic country observed the highest-ever number of new infections – 244.

New Zealand's Pharmaceutical Management Agency (Pharmac) advocates for the funding of PrEP which has effected major reductions in infections overseas – reducing an HIV-negative person's risk by over 90 percent.


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