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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

The Prevention Access Campaign, a US-based non-profit that promotes HIV prevention, released this consensus statement on the negligible risk of HIV transmission from an HIV positive sexual partner who has an undetectable viral load. The statement has been endorsed by principal investigators from the leading studies on this issue. The authors of the statement say most people living with HIV, their partners and medical providers are not aware of the extent to which treatment, with excellent adherence, prevents HIV transmission.

February 26, 2017
Prevention Access Campaign

The WHO has gathered a series of blog posts, publications and articles covering a range of issues associated with self-testing— from one village’s experience in Malawi to technical updates and literature reviews.

December 1, 2016
World Health Organization
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