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Initiation of Antiretroviral Treatment Protects Uninfected Sexual Partners from HIV Infection (HPTN Study 052)
Date:5/12/2011

couples in the delayed ART group, 27 HIV transmissions occurred. This was in contrast to only one (1) transmission that occurred in the immediate ART group. This difference was highly statistically significant. The viruses transmitted in these 28 cases were confirmed to be linked by genetic analysis, confirming that the source of the new infection was the previously HIV-infected partner.

In the originally HIV-infected individuals themselves, 17 cases of extrapulmonary tuberculosis occurred in the delayed ART group, compared with three (3) cases in the immediate ART group, also a statistically significant finding. There were also 23 deaths during the study. Thirteen (13) occurred in the delayed ART group and 10 in the immediate ART group. Study participants and investigators are being informed of the results, and HIV-infected participants in the delayed ART group will be offered ART. All study participants will continue to be followed for at least one more year.

"Previous data about the potential value of antiretrovirals in making HIV-infected individuals less infectious to their sexual partners came largely from observational and epidemiological studies," said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "This new finding convincingly demonstrates that treating the infected individual — and doing so sooner rather than later — can have a major impact on reducing HIV transmission."

"The HPTN 052 study provides compelling evidence for a new HIV prevention approach that links prevention and care efforts," said Quarraisha Abdool Karim, HPTN co-principal investigator and associate scientific director of CAPRISA. "Strategies for scaling up knowledge of HIV status and increasing treatment coverage are critical next steps to realizing the public health benefits of this finding. This is also very good news for women who bear a disproportionate burden of HIV infection acquired from infected male partners but have few options to reduce their risk espec
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SOURCE HIV Prevention Trials Network
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