The Aspirin is an affordable pill that can be found all over the world. But how can it prevent transmission of HIV?
Scientists from the University of Manitoba in Canada tested the effect of the compounds in the aspirin – the acetylsalicylic acid and the ones from other anti-inflammatory drugs, on a group of women from Kenya.
The study was published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society and it was built on the premise that inflammation was linked to HIV transmission.
HIV is transmitted to a human host through a compromised cell, like the activated immune cells – which are more likely to get infected compared to the resting cells. Inflammation is known to bring activated HIV target cells to the genital tract of a female individual.
According to their findings, Aspirin proved to be the best anti-inflammatory drug, reducing by 35% the number of cells that can be easily targeted by HIV from the female genital tract.
Kenyan women that are at high risk of contracting HIV but have remained uninfected for years had the same reduced number of HIV target cells.
Keith R Fowke (University of Manitoba) said that they will need to continue their research and confirm the results with aspirin “and test whether this level of target cell reduction will actually prevent HIV infections.”
Affordable and Available Pills
Once they prove that it is a good strategy to prevent HIV infection, it could easily be accessed by people from the whole world, he said:
“People living in poverty are disproportionately at risk of acquiring HIV. We need prevention approaches that are affordable and immediately available.”
Their goal is to find a way to add more effective methods to reduce HIV transmission in populations that are at high risk.
The participants in the study received a low dose of aspirin every day – similar to what people get for preventing cardiovascular disease, and they liked the idea that they could use a common pill and avoid the stigma associated with anti-HIV drugs.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.