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H.I.V. and Herpes: Treating Herpes Doesn’t Reduce Chance That AIDS Virus Will Spread, Study Finds

Treating herpes in people who are also infected with H.I.V. does not reduce the chances that they will pass on the AIDS virus, according to a new study.

The results were a surprise, said the lead author, Dr. Connie Celum, a professor of global health at the University of Washington. For unknown reasons, the herpes drug acyclovir lowers the level of AIDS virus in the blood. Still, Dr. Celum said, “no one knew whether that would be enough to reduce H.I.V. transmission.”

For the study, which appeared last week in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at 14 sites across Africa screened 50,000 couples to find 3,400 in which one partner was infected with both viruses and both partners agreed to remain in the study for two years.
 
 

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