New York Times (01.03.12) - Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Science Magazine named as last year's scientific "Breakthrough
of the Year" an international study showing that early
initiation of HIV treatment greatly reduced the risk of onward
transmission. In British Columbia, where researchers pioneered
the treatment-as-prevention strategy, new HIV/AIDS cases are
continuing to decline, recent data show.
"We're particularly pleased to see our treatment-as-prevention
strategy has taken off big-time," said Dr. Julio S.G.
Montaner, director of the British Columbia Center for
Excellence in HIV/AIDS, which helped develop the approach. The
province searched aggressively for at-risk populations,
encouraging HIV testing among them and early treatment for
those infected. Vancouver also supports a supervised injection
center where drug users can receive medical care and testing.
Testing is increasing, so the decline in new cases is not due
to fewer tests; also, syphilis rates are stable, suggesting
condom use has not increased, Montaner said. The lack of donor
support for treatment-as-prevention in poor countries with
extensive epidemics is frustrating, he added.
The study referenced by Science involved a clinical trial of
1,763 serodiscordant couples on four continents. It found the
early initiation of antiretroviral therapy reduced by 96
percent the chance of an infected partner passing on the