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Treatment as Prevention

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

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

The annual report from the US-based Treatment Action Group and the UK-based i-Base is an indispensable document for advocates who want to understand what drugs and treatments are being developed, considered or moved into trials for HIV, tuberculosis, Hepatitis C—as well as vaccine, immunotherapy and cure research. Comprehensive and accessible, this is a great tool for learning more about a specific therapy or approach and for getting a sense of the “big picture” of the pipeline for interventions to quell these inter-linked epidemics.

July 20, 2014
TAG and i-base

Through 2013 and early 2014, the European AIDS Treatment Group collaborated with NAM/ on a community consensus statement on the use of HIV treatment to reduce the risk of HIV infection. The sign-on statement is available at This journal article describes the process that led to the consensus statement and its ultimate contents.

July 15, 2014
Clinical Infectious Diseases
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