Researchers Examine Use of Antiretrovirals as HIV Prevention Method
Some researchers on Wednesday at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City examined how expanding national HIV/AIDS treatment programs could prevent the spread of HIV, the Wall Street Journal's "Health Blog" reports. According to researchers, countries should vastly expand their antiretroviral treatment programs to include all people in need of the drugs not only out of human-rights concerns but because using drugs to lower HIV viral loads on a population-wide scale could reduce transmissions of the virus, "Health Blog" reports.
Although the use of antiretrovirals to prevent HIV is being examined in trials with pre-exposure prophylaxis, Julio Montaner of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS -- who also is the incoming chair of the International AIDS Society -- said that the drugs can be used as a secondary prevention method. By ensuring universal access to antiretrovirals, thereby reducing HIV-positive people's viral loads and the risk of HIV transmission, countries might be able to help prevent further spread of the virus, according to Montaner. He added that preliminary studies in Taiwan and Vancouver offer hope for this method. Kevin De Cock of the World Health Organization said that he is waiting for data to validate the method. "There's biological plausibility, but not proven efficacy," he said (Chase, "Health Blog," Wall Street Journal, 8/6).
Kaisernetwork.org is the official webcaster of the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. Click here to sign up for your Daily Update e-mail during the conference. A live webcast of the closing session of the conference featuring Montaner will be available on Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET (17:30 GMT).