AIDS Study Reveals Treatment IS Prevention

May 25, 2011
by Crickett Nicovich, Outreach and Advocacy Associate

This month a new study on HIV positive patients and their partners reveals that early treatment with antiretroviral drugs actual prevents sexual transmission of HIV up to 96 percent. This is a game changer on how to stop and halt this deadly disease!

The international study enrolled 1,763 couples that had one HIV positive partner and one HIV negative partner. The study randomly selected patients to either receive ARV treatment immediately or receive treatment after their CD4 count (or white blood cell count) reached lower than 550. Of the 877 couples in the immediate treatment group, only 1 transmission of HIV occurred which was compared to 27 transmissions in the delayed treatment group. Early ARV treatment also cut the rate of tuberculosis and other opportunistic diseases in patients. Clearly, receiving earlier access to ARVs also help patients maintain healthier immune systems.

We have already seen how mother to child transmission of HIV can be basically elimanated by providing HIV positive pregnant women ARVs throughout the pregnancy and while breast feeding. This new research confirms what many scientists had already believed, early action and treatment can seriously break the cycle of new infections. Treatment is prevention!

Read more in the editorial of the health journal The Lancet, the NY Times editorial, or in this Washington Post story covering the release of the report.

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