Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

10 June 2011

Treatment is Key to Prevention of HIV/AIDS, Doctors Say

Via UCSF, by Dan Fost.

Doctors fighting HIV/AIDS have a new strategy working for them: Use the treatment of the disease as a way to prevent it – a strategy borne of the growing effectiveness of that treatment in the three decades since the disease first emerged.
“Treatment revolutionized AIDS,” says Diane Havlir, MD, professor of Medicine at UCSF and chief of the AIDS program at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. “Treatment changed AIDS from a uniformly fatal disease to a chronic disease.”

And now, Havlir says, “today’s treatment is also prevention.” Timely treatment can stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in many ways. In patients, it stops the virus from progressing into AIDS, and it prevents damage to organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys, which occurs in untreated AIDS. Treatment also greatly reduces the risk of HIV transmission.

Havlir cites the most encouraging news to date, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ HPTN 052 study, released in May 2011, which reported a 97 percent reduction in HIV transmission among discordant couples – couples in which one partner is HIV-infected and the other is HIV-negative – when the HIV-infected partner is treated with antiretroviral therapy relatively early in the course of HIV infection.

The so-called 052 study – conducted by the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) – released its results four years early because the prevention effectiveness of the antiretroviral drugs now commonly used to treat HIV infections was so clear-cut.

That news put one more arrow in the quiver of scientists and doctors looking not only to attack HIV, but to stop it.

“Certainly we’re hoping that the next 30 years of HIV can be the last 30 years, especially in San Francisco, where we have the community resources and knowledge to put an end to the epidemic,” says Grant Colfax, MD, director of the HIV Prevention and Research Section in the San Francisco Department of Public Health AIDS Office. Colfax, who trained at UCSF, is adjunct faculty at the university today.

Read the rest here.

[Content that is linked from other sources is for informational purposes and should not construe a Mapping Pathways position.]

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