Tenofovir is a widely-used anti-retroviral drug used in the treatment of HIV. It is very effective, and doesn’t cause the severe side-effects seen with some of the older HIV drugs. Anecdotally, there has been a long-standing concern that in a small minority of patients, tenofovir can lead to some problems with kidney function. Up till now, studies to look into this have been inconclusive, with some showing an effect, and others not. A recent, large, study has now shown that treatment with tenofovir is associated with a moderate increase in the risk of kidney disease.
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It is important to remember that most people can take tenofovir without any ill effects; kidney problems only develop in about 1 in 20 of the people taking the drug, and only 1 in 100 will see serious kidney impairment.