The oral antiretroviral drug Truvada has been shown to lower the risk of contracting HIV among gay men by 44 percent, the New York Times reported.

The findings are based on a landmark study across four continents reported in the November 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

A daily dose of the drug was clinically shown to reduce the number of HIV infections by 44 percent.

“I am encouraged by his announcement of groundbreaking research on HIV prevention,” President Barack Obama said.

The study found even higher rates of success in preventing the virus that causes AIDS among those who faithfully took the drug.

“Those who took the drug on 90 percent or more days had 72.8 percent fewer HIV infections,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which carried out the study, told the news service AFP.

The 3-month study was conducted in six countries – Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, South Africa, Thailand and the United States – and focused almost exclusively on gay men, one of the highest groups at risk of infection.

Truvada has been approved for use in fighting HIV in the United States.