There is also an increasing focus on the development and pursuit of strategies for a cure. Key experts in the area of latent viral reservoirs met just prior to the conference to examine new scientific results in this arena to inform the way forward. The meeting was also convened to encourage young investigators to work on this priority topic. Participants will provide an update in a press conference at 14:00 today.
Wednesday's plenary session included three provocative presentations:
Anti-HIV Drugs for Prevention
Dr. Bernard Hirschel (Switzerland) of the Infectious Diseases Service Geneva University Hospitals said that treatment as prevention is a promising strategy that needs to be properly evaluated in clinical trials. It is known that decreased viral load lowers the risk of HIV transmission and that effective treatment lowers viral load to undetectable levels. Therefore, if one could identify and treat all PLHIV, the AIDS epidemic would wither and die away. However, such a radical solution is a "pipe dream". In reality, the preventive potential of ART currently is not fully characterized. Modelers have tried to fill the gap, but models differ depending on assumptions, which are debated. As treatment expands, incidence in some cities has fallen, which is encouraging, but correlation does not necessarily imply causation. Studies in sero-discordant couples appear to show that treatment protects from transmission, as well, but such couples are only part of the sexually active population potentially at risk.
Funding agencies are currently evaluating proposals for more definitive studies, where a number of communities are randomized to receive the "test-and-treat" approach, or continue as before. These trials f
|Contact: Regina Aragon|
International AIDS Society