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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This Month's Breakthrough in HIV Prevention Revealed

The world’s response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic is now at a crossroads. Faced with this stark reality, leaders in the global HIV community are calling for a paradigm shift in thinking about HIV —from a short-term emergency to a long-term challenge requiring sustained effort. In large part, this means renewing a focus on HIV prevention. In recent years, the lion's share of resources for HIV/AIDS has been committed to services for people living with HIV/AIDS. With nearly three million people each year still losing their lives to the disease, and four million newly infected, it is now widely conceded that the only way to stem the pandemic is by jointly scaling up prevention and treatment efforts.

"Two new studies out Wednesday suggest that the spread of HIV in heterosexuals could be prevented by taking the Gilead Sciences drug Truvada. One of the studies was stopped early because it was so clear that the drug was working that it was unethical to keep issuing placebos. Called pre-exposure prophylaxis, the drug therapy may be able to help slow the spread of the disease worldwide and is available generically in some countries for as little as 25 cents per pill." -medcitynews

Results announced today from two studies reveal that a daily antiretroviral tablet taken by people who do not have HIV infection can reduce their risk of acquiring HIV by up to 73%. Both daily tenofovir and daily tenofovir/emtricitabine taken as preventive medicine (PrEP – pre-exposure prophylaxis) can prevent heterosexual transmission of HIV from men to women and from women to men.

UNAIDS and WHO have already been working with countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia to explore the potential role of pre-exposure prophylaxis in HIV prevention. This news will encourage more people to get tested for HIV, discuss HIV prevention options with their partners and access essential HIV services.

It is currently estimated that only about half of the 33 million people living with HIV know their HIV status. An increase in the uptake of testing for HIV would have a significant impact on the AIDS response, particularly if more people gain access to new HIV prevention technologies in light of the new findings.

UNAIDS and WHO recommend that individuals and couples make evidence-informed decisions on which combination of HIV prevention options is best for them. No single method is fully protective against HIV. Antiretroviral drugs for prevention need to be combined with other HIV prevention options.

These include correct and consistent use of male and female condoms, waiting longer before having sex for the first time, having fewer partners, medical male circumcision and avoiding penetrative sex.

For more information you may go directly to MedNews full article by clicking here.


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