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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

This study published in PLoS looked at a combination strategy in Swaziland that included 5 evidence-based interventions that link care to people who are HIV positive. These interventions were applied at multiple steps in the continuum of HIV care and were associated with significant increase in linkage to care and 12-month retention.

November 7, 2017

Reuters reports on the next generation of treatment drugs for HIV currently under development by competitors Gilead and GlaxoSmithKline. This story takes a close look at the business interests these drugs represent to their manufacturers.

November 2, 2017

In the November issue, the editorial board of the Lancet lauds the campaign known as U=U (undetectable equals untransmissable) and the far-reaching benefits of virologic suppression as a strategy to advance HIV prevention. Calling it a “simple but hugely important” campaign, the editor’s letter in this issue also rounds up the evidence for interested readers.

November 1, 2017
The Lancet
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