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Activists have accused a US drug company called Gilead Sciences of exploiting sex workers in Cambodia, Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria during research into an AIDS drug called Viread. The protestors say that trials should stop because although some of the study participants are taking Viread, others receive pills with no medicinal value and could get infected by HIV.

Opponents of the trials say that the company intentionally provides inadequate information to the volunteers, because of a need to have data on infection rates of those not taking Viread. They are calling upon Gilead Sciences to cover lifetime costs of anyone who contracts HIV/AIDS during the study. But Gilead's research chief says its trials have been approved and that volunteers receive counselling, education and condoms. These, he says, will reduce the likelihood of them contracting HIV/AIDS.

Viread is already registered for use by people with HIV in the United States. Research has shown that the drug protected monkeys from a related virus, and researchers hope that it could be used as an AIDS 'prevention pill'.

Link to full news story in The Scotsman

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