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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 big drugmakers said Monday they had agreed to explore whether a combination of two experimental drugs, which the companies had been researching separately, could treat HIV even if taken every several months.

March 15, 2021
Wall Street Journal

Combination prevention with universal home-based testing can be delivered at low annual cost per person but accumulates to a considerable amount when scaled for a growing population. Combination prevention including UTT is cost-effective at thresholds greater than $800 per DALY averted and can be an efficient strategy to reduce HIV incidence in high-prevalence settings.

March 12, 2021
Lancet Global Health

A 12-month HIV treatment trial for transgender women and men who have sex with men in Kenya, Malawi and South Africa saw antiretroviral treatment (ART) and viral suppression rates more than double.

February 19, 2021
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