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

n it comes to populations with a history of injection drug use, as we now have a tool to help reduce the spread of HIV among them."

Results of mathematical models have varied dramatically in their estimation of the potential impact of increased HAART coverage on HIV transmission, predicting anywhere from elimination to potential worsening of the HIV epidemic. Therefore, the present study was conducted to analyze, at the population level, the potential association between the expansion of HAART, viral load and new HIV diagnoses per year in a Canadian province with free access to HIV care. The population was then stratified for injection drug use status.

Data resulting from BC-CfE research showed that the number of individuals actively receiving HAART had a strong impact on overall viral load and new diagnoses in the community. As HAART coverage increased, new HIV diagnoses decreased; as HAART coverage stabilized, so too did viral load and new HIV diagnoses.

The expansion of HAART is proving to be an important prevention tool that complements efforts of community prevention programs in B.C. programs working to educate people about HIV and deliver needle-exchange and harm reduction supplies for at-risk populations.

The study results align with the emphasis global leaders in HIV research, policy and advocacy place on early treatment to prevent transmission of HIV. Michel Sidib, Executive Director of UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, noted that treatment is a smart health investment, as it reduces HIV transmission, TB infection and maternal and child mortality within communities, and improves work productivity.

"The most recent evidence presented by the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and other leading research organizations supports these facts and tells us that we need to introduce treatment earlier," said Sidib. "Treatment not only saves lives, it can be one of the most compelling prevention
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Contact: Brian Lin
brian.lin@ubc.ca
604-822-2234
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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