September 13, 2011
After a landmark study published in May "showed major reductions in HIV transmission among discordant couples due to early treatment," Rwanda has decided to begin treating people in discordant relationships with antiretroviral therapy as soon as they test HIV-positive "as part of a plan to boost national HIV prevention and treatment efforts," PlusNews reports. "According to the government, an estimated 7.1 percent of cohabiting couples seeking voluntary counseling and testing services in the capital, Kigali, are HIV discordant," and "[i]nfections within stable relationships have been identified as one of the main sources of new cases in Rwanda," according to the news agency.
Rwanda has "achieved 93 percent coverage of people needing treatment under [WHO] guidelines, which recommend initiation of treatment at a CD4 count -- a measure of immune strength -- of 350 and below," PlusNews writes. Sabin Nsanzimana, coordinator of the HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Care and Treatment Department at the Ministry of Health's Centre for Treatment and Research on AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other Epidemics, TRAC Plus, "said the added cost of putting thousands more people on treatment would be compensated for by the reduction in new HIV infections and treatment down the line," the news agency notes (9/12).