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HIV study named 2011 breakthrough of the year by Science
Date:12/22/2011

The journal Science has chosen the HPTN 052 clinical trial (http://www.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2011/Pages/HPTN052.aspx), an international HIV prevention trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, as the 2011 Breakthrough of the Year. The study found that if HIV-infected heterosexual individuals begin taking antiretroviral medicines when their immune systems are relatively healthy as opposed to delaying therapy until the disease has advanced, they are 96 percent less likely to transmit the virus to their uninfected partners. Findings from the trial, first announced in May, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August. The complete top 10 list of 2011 scientific breakthroughs appears in the Dec. 23, 2011, issue of Science.

"The HPTN 052 study convincingly demonstrated that antiretroviral medications can not only treat but also prevent the transmission of HIV infection among heterosexual individuals," said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "We are pleased that Science recognized the extraordinary public health significance of these study results. This recognition also is a credit to the hard work and dedication of the HPTN 052 researchers and the more than 3,000 study participants who selflessly gave their time and energy to make such a significant contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS."

Led by study chair Myron Cohen, M.D., director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, HPTN 052 began in 2005 and enrolled 1,763 heterosexual couples in Botswana, Brazil, India, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand, the United States and Zimbabwe. Each couple included one partner with HIV infection. The investigators randomly assigned each couple to either one of two study
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Contact: Kathy Stover
stoverk@niaid.nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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