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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

CANADA; GLOBAL: British Columbia: Aggressive Strategy Lowers the Number of New HIV Cases and AIDS Deaths


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 virus.


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Information in this article was accurate in January 4, 2012. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.