HIV drugs could be used to treat MS sufferers
DRUGS used to treat HIV could potentially be used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS).
The new finding is a result of research which showed people with the virus have a lower risk of MS.
Researchers found that people with a HIV infection have a significantly lower risk of developing the debilitating condition.
They said that chronic dampening down of the immune system as a result of HIV, or the antiretroviral drugs used to treat it, could be the reason behind the lowered risk.
The UK's MS Society charity said that while more research was needed into the subject, the study showed that antiretrovirals could be a potential future option for treatment for MS.
The study of 21,000 HIV-positive patients treated in hospitals in England between 1999 and 2011 found that those with HIV were 62pc less likely to develop MS than the control subjects.
Commenting on the study, Dr Emma Gray, research communications manager at the MS Society, said: "Much more research is needed to definitively prove whether having HIV or being treated for HIV with antiretrovirals, or even a combination of the two, reduces the risk of someone developing MS.
"This study provides some encouragement that antiretrovirals could be a potential future option.
"Clinical trials are the only way to determine this and the good news is there is a London-based trial ongoing which is aimed at testing one such drug."