Woman prepares HIV/AIDS drugs
A woman, who is infected with HIV, prepares her pills. California-based Gilead Sciences Inc., leading maker of HIV drugs, agreed share intellectual property rights on its medicines in a patent pool designed to make treatments more widely available to the poor. REUTERS

We need a global scientific strategy in order to eradicate AIDS, researches said at the 6th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention.

Fifteen years ago, even the most optimistic members of the scientific community were silent about the prospect of an HIV cure or vaccine, said IAS 2011 International Chair and IAS President, Elly Katabira.

Today, there is a reemergence of hope that the long-term remission of an infected individual is a realistic objective. The IAS is proud to be leading the coordination of the research effort and we look forward to the unveiling of the global scientific strategy at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington next year, said Katabira.

Canadian HIV researcher Dr. Julio Montaner said July 14 that pre-exposure prophylaxis should be used worldwide in order to derail the AIDS epidemic after two HIV studies in Africa revealed 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.

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.

The Wall Street Journal said that the global community has been struggling to come up with enough funds to treat those with advanced AIDS symptoms-let alone those at earlier stages of the disease.

The age-old battle over funding prevention versus treatment has seemingly died. Experts who have relentlessly advocated for educating the healthy rather than healing the already dead will likely see that prevention can be used as an extension of treatment.

The results also confirmed a study that was released last November that found that taking anti-HIV drugs pre-exposure prophylaxis helped prevent new infection among healthy gay men.

The new study said that programs need to be implemented in order to decrease high mortality rates in pregnant women and young children in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Furthermore, access to drug abuse treatment, needle exchange programs (NEP), and community outreach are all urgently needed HIV prevention strategies for IV drug abusers.

Research has indicated that actively seeking out drug users to test them for HIV and treating those who test positive will improve patient health and could eradicate the relentless epidemic.