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Antiretroviral treatment for preventing HIV infection: an evidence review for physicians
Date:5/28/2012

therapy resulted in higher rates of HIV seroconversion [development of antibodies against HIV]," write the authors.

For high-risk populations, such as men who have sex with men, intravenous drug users and women in areas with a high prevalence of HIV, pre-exposure prophylaxis has been shown to prevent HIV infection before being exposed to the virus. For example, one recent trial that involved 900 women from a region with high HIV prevalence showed a 39% reduction in HIV infection rates after application of a topical vaginal microbicide 12 hours before and after sex.

"All pre-exposure prophylaxis interventions should be considered one part of a more comprehensive plan for preventing the spread of HIV infection, including standard counselling on safer sexual practices and condom use, testing for and treating other sexually transmitted infections and, in select circumstances, male circumcision and needle exchange programs," state the authors.

"Whereas pre-exposure prophylaxis may be reserved for people with the highest risk of exposure, the trend of treating HIV at higher CD4 T cell counts earlier in infection will likely show the most promise as a pharmacologic strategy for preventing transmission of the virus," the authors conclude. They note that while pre-exposure prophylaxis is promising, there are unanswered questions, such as which groups would benefit most, the possibility of drug resistance and others. Several large-scale trials are underway to determine effectiveness of early treatment.


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Contact: Kim Barnhardt
kim.barnhardt@cmaj.ca
613-520-7116 x2224
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Source:Eurekalert

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