Starting next month, a Tokyo-based hospital will start a clinical study to ascertain whether HIV infection rates can be reduced if high-risk individuals take anti-viral medicine on a daily basis, a source close to the matter said Monday.

In the first such study in the nation, the Center Hospital of the National Center for Global Health and Medicine will conduct the study with individuals seen to have a higher risk of HIV infection, such as men who have sexual contact with other men, the source said.

The move comes amid reports that Japan logs around 1,500 new cases of AIDS each year, along with HIV infections among people who have not shown AIDS symptoms, despite calls for preventive measures such as the use of condoms.