Benefit of HIV Treatment as Prevention Underscores Need to Avert Treatment Disruptions and Expand Access to Reach Universal Targets
Strategies for Reducing Maternal Transmission, and Two Potential New Avenues of HIV Treatment Also Highlighted in Conference Plenary
July 20, 2009
Cape Town, South Africa -- Researchers speaking in the first plenary session of the 5th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2009) offered insights into current and future HIV prevention research and examined genetics and HIV-related inflammation as avenues for new treatments. The presentations, which also included data on the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for prevention and an update on strategies to reduce maternal transmission of HIV, reflect the breadth of expertise among the more than 5,000 researchers, clinicians and community leaders attending the conference, which runs from 19-22 July in Cape Town.
"The added preventive benefit of antiretroviral therapy represents a compelling new rationale for the re-invigoration of HIV treatment roll-out and gives further urgency to the need to avert disruptions in access to life-saving medicines," said IAS President Dr. Julio Montaner, who is IAS 2009 Chair and Director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in Vancouver, Canada. "By reducing HIV transmission, as well as morbidity and mortality, treatment scale up is not only the right the thing to do for humanitarian and public health reasons; it is also a cost averting intervention, which makes fiscal sense in these difficult times."
"As we continue to expand access to antiretroviral therapy, it is crucial that we maintain a robust basic research agenda to learn more about how the virus interacts with and impacts the human body," said IAS 2009 Local Co-Chair Dr. Hoosen (Jerry) Coovadia who is Chairman of Dira Sengwe and Scientific Director of the Doris Duke Medical Research Institute at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. "We must remain relentless in our efforts to find avenues to treat HIV and ensure that proven and cost-effective strategies available to prevent maternal transmission are implemented broadly and available to women worldwide."
HAART as Prevention
In his plenary remarks, Dr. Reuben Granich, Medical Officer for HIV/TB in the HIV/AIDS Department of the World Health Organization (WHO), examined the significant promise of the use of HAART as part of a combined approach to HIV prevention that includes behavioral, structural and biomedical prevention interventions. Dr. Granich outlined the context and basic assumptions regarding this emerging strategy, including when to start ART for maximal clinical and prevention benefit. He also highlighted the essential roles of human rights, dignity and community engagement in the use of HAART for prevention and discussed the outstanding biological, feasibility, impact and cost issues related to research in this arena.
HIV and Host Genetics
Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission
Inflammation and HIV: A New Paradigm
This article was provided by International AIDS Society. It is a part of the publication The 5th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention. Visit International AIDS Society's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.