IAS Conference Opens With Push for Treatment as Prevention
July 19, 2011
The 6th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention taking place in Rome this week "started optimistically as the hype surrounding the use of antiretroviral treatment to prevent HIV infection gained momentum. But the focus of much discussion will undoubtedly be on how to transform the recent promising research findings into workable policy," PlusNews reports (7/18).
On Monday, Myron Cohen of the University of North Carolina presented detailed findings of HPTN 052, which showed that HIV-positive people who take combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their HIV-negative partners by more than 96 percent, "mak[ing] ART the most effective prevention intervention identified to date," the Center for Global Health Policy's "ScienceSpeaks" blog writes (Lubinski, 7/19). The study's findings, which were released early in May, were published on Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine (7/18).
In an accompanying NEJM editorial, Scott Hammer of Columbia University Medical Center writes, "Aggressive programs to diagnose and treat HIV infection as part of a comprehensive care package and multiple approaches to the prevention of transmission that have been tested in well-designed clinical trials have the potential to preserve health and control the epidemic until a safe and effective HIV vaccine is a reality" (7/18).
Another study released on Monday at the conference showed that "[p]atients taking HIV drugs in Africa can expect to have a near-normal lifespan, although men are likelier to die far sooner than women, according to the biggest study of its kind," Agence France-Presse notes (7/18). "Actuarial analysis (the kind life insurance companies do to gauge the remaining lifespan of someone at a given age and gender in a given society) reveals that more than 22,000 Ugandans on HIV treatment can expect to live almost as long as those who don't carry the virus," according to NPR's health blog "Shots" (Knox, 7/18).
Experts at the conference said "[c]ountries that have been quick to incorporate medical male circumcision into their HIV prevention programs are already seeing good results compared with those that have been slower to embrace the procedure," PlusNews reports in an article examining how leadership has played an important role in the scale-up of the practice in Africa (7/18).
Several other reports were released and announcements made at the conference on Monday:
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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