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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

People who start antiretroviral therapy (ART) immediately after HIV diagnosis, while their CD4 cell count is still high rather than waiting until it falls below 350 cells/mm3, have a significantly lower risk of illness and death, according to long-awaited findings from the START trial. The final study results were presented at IAS 2015 and published simultaneously in the July 20 of the New England Journal of Medicine.

July 21, 2015

A recent study published in The Lancet concluded that decriminalization of sex work had the single greatest potential to reduce HIV infections in female sex worker communities—even more than increasing access to antiretroviral treatment. Read the Open Society’s new brief providing more reasons decriminalization of sex work is the best policy for promoting health and human rights of sex workers, their families and communities.

April 14, 2015
Open Society
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