Early HIV Treatment as Prevention Can Derail Epidemic: Researcher

on July 14 2011 9:28 PM
 AIDS Infection and Treatment
Pills for women afflicted with AIDS REUTERS

A Canadian HIV researcher said today that pre-exposure prophylaxis should be used worldwide in order to derail the AIDS epidemic.

Two HIV studies in Africa revealed July 13 that antiretroviral drugs used in combination with anti-retroviral therapy helps treat HIV and prevents transmission through decreasing contagiousness.  The studies found that taking a daily pill containing antiretroviral drugs can reduce HIV transmission by as much as 75% in heterosexual couples.

Executive director of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition said that the findings are two more nails in the coffin of HIV, adding that we are seeing similar results in different populations, and that gives us more certainty that these results are real.

This approach has worked in Taiwan, British Columbia, and San Francisco, rapidly decreasing rates of transmission. 

This method also aids in decreasing risk of transmission from an infected mother to her unborn child and among IV drug users, said Canadian Dr. Julio Montaner in an interview. 

The evidence is in: treatment is prevention, Montaner wrote.  He added, Treatment dramatically prevents morbidity and mortality, HIV transmission, and tuberculosis. Furthermore, treatment prevents HIV transmission in mother-to-child, sexual, and injection drug use settings; indeed, a very welcome double hat-trick. The challenge remains to optimize the impact of this valuable intervention. Failure to do so is not an option.

 

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