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SEARCH study shows 1-year drop in HIV virus levels in rural Ugandan parish after campaign
Date:7/24/2012

Population-wide levels of HIV virus dropped substantially between 2011 and May 2012 in a rural part of southwestern Uganda, the site of two community health campaigns led by doctors at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH) and Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.

The campaign, which was part of the Sustainable East Africa Research in Community Health (SEARCH) Collaboration, involved free counseling, testing for HIV and other diseases, linkage to care and treatment. This comprehensive approach to addressing HIV/AIDS has been pioneered in San Francisco over the last few years.

Mounting evidence is showing that universal testing and early treatment for HIV can help keep people healthier longer and can reduce the spread of HIV within communities.

In a talk to be presented on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., members of the UCSF research team will describe early results of their campaign in one resource-limited setting in sub-Saharan Africa, where 60 percent of the world's HIV-infected people reside.

Their effort involved two large community health campaigns in May 2011 and May 2012, in which every resident in a southwestern Ugandan district called Kakyerere Parish (population 6,300) was offered free counseling, testing for HIV and other diseases, and linkage to care. Between the two campaigns, there was a substantial drop in the amount of HIV virus measured in the community.

In 2011, 37 percent of HIV-positive persons had undetectable levels of virus, and by 2012 that number had risen to 55 percent. By contrast, only an estimated 20-30 percent of the people in the United States who are infected have undetectable levels of HIVin part because 1 in 5 Americans living with HIV do not know they are infected.

"Viral loads in the population can be a readout of how we are doing with HIV care across
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Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jason.bardi@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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