NIAID / CC BY 2.0

Could HIV Drugs Be The Key To Treating Multiple Sclerosis?

A study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry found people with HIV have a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis.

By Christine Slusser | August 5, 2014

A newly published study says people with HIV have a smaller chance of developing multiple sclerosis. 

​The study, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, notes even though both HIV and multiple sclerosis are well-known and documented:

"There is only a single case report of a patient with MS and HIV treated with HIV antiretroviral therapies. In this report, the patient's MS symptoms resolved completely after starting combination antiretroviral therapy and remain subsided for more than 12 years.​" (Via Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry)

​Those involved in the study hypothesized that people being treated for HIV might also be "coincidentally" treated for MS. 

"Drugs used to treat the virus could have an effect to reduce symptoms and block MS. The MS society says more research is still needed." (Via WMAQ)

And HealthDay points out the longer the person had HIV, the lower their chance was of also developing multiple sclerosis. 

"Compared to people in the general population, the risk of MS was 75 percent lower among people who had tested positive for HIV more than a year ago. The risk of MS was 85 percent lower among those who had tested positive for HIV more than five years ago."

The study looked at more than 21,000 people with HIV and had a control group of more than 5 million people.

As The Economist notes, "Results do not indicate whether it is the infection or its treatment that is suppressing MS."

The Economist also pointed out if it's the HIV drugs suppressing multiple sclerosis, it might be possible to use existing drugs to treat MS.

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