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Researchers present new trends in HIV cure research, call for proactive outreach programs to prevent HIV transmission in injecting drug users, and demand increased commitments to improving maternal and child health
Date:7/20/2011

. For too long this vulnerable group has been left at the margins of HIV prevention programmes, and that approach is simply no longer sustainable.

"Similarly, we are never going to reach the Millennium Development Goals on maternal and child health as long as nations, international donors and agencies do not step up to the mark. Yes, there have been marked improvements over the past decade but there are still too any women and children needlessly dying. Care, prevention and treatment need to be scaled up in many developing countries and it needs to start happening now."

The final Plenary Session united three fields of research that are each calling for a scale up of commitment and resources to more effectively drive policy implementation:

Ending HIV Transmission in Drug Users by 2015:

Nora Volkow (United States), Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), remarked in her plenary speech that although injecting drug use is the most commonly recognized drug use related vector for transmission of HIV, non-injecting drug use can also increase the likelihood of HIV transmission through intoxication that alters judgment and prompts greater risk taking. Drug use also affects the course of the infection by damaging the immune system (e.g., opiates, alcohol), through drug interactions with HAART (e.g., alcohol), or through compromised compliance with HIV treatment regimes, all of which can worsen clinical outcomes.

Access to comprehensive interventions including drug abuse treatment, needle exchange programmes (NEP), and community outreach are effective HIV prevention strategies for drug users. Research shows that proactively seeking out drug users to test them for HIV and engaging them in both drug use and HAART treatment (for those who test positive) can improve patient outcomes and prevent HIV transmission and incidence at population level.

Caring for Mothers and Children: Towards the Millennium Developmen
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Contact: Lindsey Rodger
lindsey.rodger@iasociety.org
International AIDS Society
Source:Eurekalert

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