More Resources Should Be Spent on Prevention Rather Than Treatment To Stop Spread of HIV, Editorial Says
HIV/AIDS researchers and advocates and national governments need to invest more energy and resources into finding the most effective prevention techniques rather than focusing on treatment provision because "only prevention will stop the epidemic," an Economist editorial says. If treatment programs are "rolled out willy-nilly" without prevention programs, "they will eventually make the situation worse," the editorial says. For example, "sloppy adherence to drug-taking regimes" will facilitate the development of drug-resistant HIV, according to the editorial. In addition, HIV-positive people taking antiretroviral drugs, who might not feel ill and believe they are immune from further infection, might engage in "the sorts of risky behavior that infected them in the first place," the Economist says. One way to reduce the risk of participants in treatment programs contributing to the spread of the virus is to use health care networks "to preach the message of prevention" or implement the most effective prevention methods, according to the editorial. New prevention methods "will not be a panacea" -- especially if they inadvertantly encourage risky behavior that might spread HIV -- but they "should help to stop transmission in a way that treatment never can," the editorial concludes (Economist, 7/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.