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To save lives, HIV treatment alone isn’t enough. Suppressing HIV is what matters.

In 2011, a landmark clinical trial showed that early initiation of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) for people who are HIV-infected cuts the risk of HIV transmission by a stunning 96 percent. The trial provided powerful new momentum to global efforts to expand treatment access — both for the health of individuals living with HIV and for the potential to prevent millions of new infections.

Getting people onto treatment, though, is only half the story. To save lives and slow the HIV epidemic, treatment needs to achieve long-term virologic suppression — meaning the level of HIV in a person’s body is essentially undetectable. In most countries, only a minority of people with HIV have their virus in check. To make viral suppression the norm, better adherence programs, viral load monitoring and other steps are urgently needed.

What We're Reading

Veteran HIV reporter Donald McNeil Jr. takes a look at how, through a raft of creative programs, San Francisco has drastically reduced the number of new HIV cases seen per year and now serves a model of how to do HIV prevention for other cities.

October 5, 2015
New York Times

The World Health Organization issued sweeping new guidelines on Wednesday that could put millions more people on HIV drugs than are now getting them, the New York Times reports. The recommendations could go a long way toward halting the epidemic, health officials say, but would cost untold billions of dollars not yet committed.

September 30, 2015
New York Times
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