June 12, 2009
In a Journal of the American Medical Association commentary piece, Anthony Fauci and Carl Dieffenbach of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases explore results from a WHO mathematical model study that found universal, voluntary, annual HIV testing followed up with immediate treatment for those testing positive -- the "test and treat model" -- could "reduce HIV incidence" and "end the [HIV] pandemic within 50 years." Fauci said in a written statement, "Given these conclusions, test and treat potentially could represent an important public health strategy for fighting HIV/AIDS. However, the WHO model is based on numerous assumptions that need to be tested and also raises concerns about individual rights, cost effectiveness and other critical issues that require broad public debate" (NIAID release, 6/9). In their commentary, the authors highlight the various areas of research that are necessary to verify or refute the test and treat approach (Fauci/Dieffenbach, JAMA, 6/10).