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HIV/AIDS treatment curbs spread of disease: UBC-BC CfE study
Date:7/19/2010

The BC Centre of Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) published an important study today in the globally respected Lancet medical journal. The study strongly reinforces the view that the benefits of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) extend beyond treatment of the virus to significantly preventing the transmission and spread of HIV.

Recognized as the gold standard treatment for HIV, HAART uses a combination of drugs to stop HIV from progressing to AIDS, extends life expectancy, and significantly reduces HIV-related deaths in diagnosed individuals.

"The expansion of HAART treatment plays an important role in the health of British Columbians with HIV, preventing HIV transmission and maximizing public health resources," said Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia. "Based on HAART's effectiveness and ongoing research at the BC-CfE, Canada's leading HIV/AIDS organization, the government of B.C. is investing in improving access to HAART through innovative programs such as the Seek and Treat initiative."

The new study, funded by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), found that increased levels of HAART treatment were associated with a decrease in community viral load and in new HIV diagnoses across British Columbia, particularly in populations with a history of injection drug use.

"These study results reinforce the effectiveness of HAART in preventing transmission of HIV, and support extending the treatment as prevention model developed at the BC-CfE and now being rolled out in major centres in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere," said Dr. Julio Montaner, study lead author and BC-CfE director. Montaner is also a professor and chair in AIDS research at the University of British Columbia and President of the International AIDS Society (IAS).

"This BC-CfE study suggests expanded HAART coverage may curb the spread of HIV," said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "These findings are especially important whe
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Contact: Brian Lin
brian.lin@ubc.ca
604-822-2234
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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