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U.S. News

U.S. Mulls Implications of Early Use of HIV Drugs to Stop AIDS Spread

May 27, 2011

The U.S. global AIDS coordinator is leading discussions within the government about the ramifications of recent landmark research showing the public health benefits of early antiretroviral therapy for people with HIV. This month, the federal government announced that a large clinical trial proved early HIV treatment, given before the immune system faltered, reduced transmission of the virus to heterosexual partners by 96 percent.

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"This is a study that needs to challenge the way we've been doing business," said Dr. Eric Goosby. "We need to ask ourselves if this indeed presents an opportunity for us to be more effective in preventing new [HIV] infections. What I'm now committed to doing is shepherding the dialogue within the U.S. government -- to go quickly, but I want to do it consciously."

Goosby leads the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which spends about $7 billion annually. U.S.-funded programs will soon be treating nearly 4 million people in 88 countries. Putting an early-treatment model into practice, however, could result in a nine-fold increase in the number of people receiving medications.

"How do we deal with ... prioritizing who gets on antiretroviral drugs first?" Goosby asked. "Should it still remain patients with late-stage disease, pregnant women, patients with pulmonary TB, children diagnosed at birth? Or should anybody, regardless of the stage of disease, get treated?" he asked, noting issues involved with lifetime use of the powerful drugs.

Back to other news for May 2011

Adapted from:
NPR.org
05.26.2011; Richard Knox


  
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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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