HIV Prevention: Drugs Even More Effective Than Thought
July 19, 2011
The early initiation of antiretroviral therapy reduces rates of heterosexually transmitted HIV even more than previously reported, investigators announced Monday at the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Rome. Early ART is also associated with a 41 percent reduction in HIV-related morbidity and mortality, they said.
A triple test initially confirmed 27 transmissions among couples in the delayed-treatment group, compared with just one in the immediate-treatment group. According to data presented in Rome, investigators discovered one additional transmission had occurred in the delayed-treatment group before the trial was halted. The lone infection in the immediate-treatment arm likely was in a patient who had acquired it so recently that ARVs were not as effective in suppressing virus in bodily fluids.
"The protection is going to be greater than 96 percent," said trial leader Dr. Myron Cohen of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Attendees stood and cheered as researchers announced the findings.
The World Health Organization says it will delay planned revisions to its treatment guidelines in order to take into account "the exciting results." Even in light of the new research, however, condom use remains a key message for prevention, said Gottfried Hirnschall, director of WHO's HIV/AIDS department.
The study, "Prevention of HIV-1 Infection with Early Antiretroviral Therapy," was published ahead of the print edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (2011;doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1105243).
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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