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

groups. In the first group, the HIV-infected partner immediately began taking a combination of three antiretroviral drugs. The participants infected with HIV were extensively counseled on the need to consistently take the medications as directed. Outstanding compliance resulted in the nearly complete suppression of HIV in the blood (viral load) of the treated study participants in group one.

In the second group (the deferred group), the HIV-infected partners began antiretroviral therapy when their CD4+ T-cell levelsa key measure of immune system healthfell below 250 cells per cubic millimeter or an AIDS-related event occurred. The HIV-infected participants also were counseled on the need to strictly adhere to the treatment regimen.

The study was slated to end in 2015, but an interim data review in May by an independent data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) found that of the total 28 cases of HIV infection among the previously uninfected partners, only one case occurred among those couples where the HIV-infected partner began immediate antiretroviral therapy. The DSMB, therefore, called for immediate public release of the study's findings.

The magnitude of protection against HIV infection demonstrated in HPTN 052 has made the successful strategy of the clinical trial a key component of public health policies recently discussed by federal officials and others saying that achieving an end to the HIV/AIDS pandemic is now feasible with additional research and implementation efforts.

"On its own, treatment as prevention is not going to solve the global HIV/AIDS problem," said Dr. Fauci. "Yet when used in combination with other HIV prevention methodssuch as knowing one's HIV status through routine testing, proper and consistent condom use, behavioral modification, needle and syringe exchange programs for injection drug users, voluntary, medically supervised adult male circumcision, preventing mother-to-child transmission, and, under s
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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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