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Medical News

Main Outcomes From World AIDS Forum

July 27, 2010

Strong scientific evidence presented at the 18th International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Vienna showed clear progress is possible in fighting HIV/AIDS, though economic woes have made the resource gap wider.

Researchers presented results from a trial of a tenofovir-based vaginal microbicide gel showing it reduced HIV infection among heterosexual female users by 39 percent over 2.5 years. The protection was greater for highly adherent users. The gel is expected to undergo expanded trials to further assess its efficacy. Some experts doubted whether 39 percent was enough to justify taking the gel to the public.

After increasing for six consecutive years, AIDS funding for developing countries slackened in 2009 amid the global recession, UNAIDS reported. In 2009, the funding gap was $7.7 billion, and the unmet need in 2010 is $11.3 billion. Some advocates are calling for a micro-tax on financial transactions to meet the growing treatment tab.

For the health of those living with HIV, treatment should be initiated at a CD4 count of 350 cells/mm3, regardless of the presence or absence of clinical symptoms, the World Health Organization announced at the conference. Earlier access to antiretroviral therapy benefits HIV patients in reduced morbidity and mortality, several recent studies show. Expanded ARV access also reduces HIV incidence in society at large, according to research by International AIDS Society President Dr. Julio Montaner and British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS colleagues.

For years, experts have avoided using the term "eradicate" with respect to HIV, largely because the virus rebounds once treatment stops. Nobel laureate and HIV co-discoverer Francoise Barre-Sinoussi returned to the question of whether viral "reservoirs" can indeed someday be flushed out to eradicate HIV from the body.

The aging of the HIV-positive population was also discussed. Both the virus and ARVs are linked with myriad health effects. Many older patients are now facing cancer, diabetes, heart, liver, and kidney diseases without adequate savings or social support, experts said.

The IAC, which ended July 23, will next be held in Washington, D.C., in 2012.

Back to other news for July 2010

Adapted from:
Agence France Presse

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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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Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.

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