HIV drugs may find preventive use

Should HIV drugs be used to prevent infection with the deadly virus? Some say yes. Given the fact that vaccine developers have to start all over on their anti-HIV shot, and microbicides haven't shown much promise either, prophylactic use of antiretroviral drugs seems like a logical choice.

Obviously, extending the use of the drugs these experts are looking at--Viread (tenofovir) and Emtriva (emtricitabine)--would be a big boost to their maker, which happens to be Gilead Sciences (though cheaper versions are made for some markets by Indian companies). But--and this is a big "but"--clinical trials have to be run first. A couple of countries already are conducting tests, and others are in the works.

Initial results might come as early as next year, though. And some experts say these drugs are now the most promising tools for HIV prevention, at least as a stop-gap as vaccine research continues.

- check out the story in the New York Times
- see the Financial Times story