HIV Testing Essential in Fighting Spread of Virus, NIAID Director Fauci Says
People should get tested for HIV and seek treatment if they are diagnosed as HIV-positive because those who know their status are less likely to transmit the virus to others, Anthony Fauci, director of NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said on Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the AP/Fresno Bee reports. Fauci said that although available antiretroviral drugs cannot eliminate the disease, they can suppress viral loads and help reduce the spread of HIV. He added that although it might be possible to reduce HIV/AIDS prevalence, it will take a long time, and elimination of the disease is unlikely. Because HIV can be transmitted through sexual activity, which is part of human behavior, it is not "going to be easy to shut it off," Fauci added. Fauci also discussed the use of triple-drug combination therapies in Africa. According to Fauci, such combination therapies have shown to be more effective than single- or two-drug regimens in reducing the development of drug resistance. Fauci said that there are several new antiretrovirals in development for use as second-line therapies among people who have developed resistance to current treatment options. Some of those treatments include fusion inhibitors and drugs that might prevent HIV from maturing. He added that public fatigue in receiving HIV/AIDS information through broadcast and print media has become an issue because "once you take it off the radar screen it's hard to get out the message of prevention" (Schmid, AP/Fresno Bee, 2/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.