The recent medical studies and researches have affirmed the fact that herpes (to be exact: HSV 2) treatment can slow down the HIV progression in those patients, who have these both diseases.
The studies were conducted in Africa. The patients (the inhabitants of the same trial) are infected with both: AIDS and herpes 2. These illnesses are connected as they are both transmitted sexually. The studies involved 3,381 heterosexual people. One part of patients was treated by anti herpes drug. And the other part was given a placebo. The interesting fact is that nobody: neither patients, nor doctors were aware of what medicine the patients took each time. That could be anti-HSV treatment or a placebo as well.
The results were amazing; the research has shown that the process of HIV progress has slowed down by 16 percents in patients, who were not yet eligible for antiretroviral therapy.
However the medical researchers from the University of Washington say that even if HSV 2 is treated, that doesn't reduce the risk of AIDS transmission. This fact was affirmed by the earlier studies, conducted in the same area.
The scientists say that using anti HSV drugs in such co-infected trials as this is (the one, were the researches were conducted) is rather safe precaution measure.
However some doctors are not so optimistic about the results of the studies. For example Anne Buve, MD, PhD, and Lutgarde Lynen, MD, both of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium say that it's too early to claim about the necessity of anti-herpes treatment for HIV infected patients. They want to get some more researches conducted on the cost-effectiveness of this type of precaution measures.
At the same time epidemiological and laboratory observations created platform for new assumption. For example, if we treat HIV-negative people from the herpes 2 virus, we also reduce the risk of them getting AIDS infection. And if the treatment takes place among the co-infected people, it also decreases the chances of passing on HIV infection.
The second assumption was also affirmed by some special observations. Those observations showed that HIV-positive people, who were treated from the HSV 2, had their viral load lowered. But the fact that anti herpes treatment influences the probability of AIDS transmission positively wasn't affirmed. Although the lower HIV viral loads were noticed after the patients took anti- herpes 2 medicines.
The new finding is aimed at studying the transmission of AIDS in dually infected patients who treat their HSV disease. This current research involves 3,408 HIV- and HSV-2-positive individuals. All of them have regular sexual relationship. Moreover their partner doesn't belong to the group of HIV infected people.
The way of conducting the research was the same. One part of the volunteers was treated with the anti-herpes medicines (different from the ones, used during the first research). And the other part took a placebo regularly. Besides the most important aim, scientists also wanted to observe the AIDS progression in those HIV positive patients. The primary endpoint in this study was the first occurrence of CD4 cell counts of fewer than 200 cells per microliter.
After two years of findings, the first results were rather optimistic. Only 284 participants of the first group have reached the endpoint. And in the other group the number of volunteers, who have reached the endpoint was 324. In generally, the HIV progression decrease was between 17 and 24%.