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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

Just before Christmas, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave an unwanted gift to ViiV Healthcare, a division of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), when it refused to approve the company’s much-anticipated long-acting HIV injection.

January 6, 2020
The BodyPro

Long-acting (LA) injectables could well be the future of antiretroviral therapy (ART), as it solves the issue of adherence posed by oral ART and could better align with patient preferences. Although LA cabotegravir + rilpivirine is currently in development and has demonstrated non-inferiority to daily oral ART in phase III trials, most of the trial participants have been men.

October 6, 2019
Contagion Live

The U=U campaign (undetectable means untransmittable, see box) seeks to publicise the science that shows that people with an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV. But my limited enthusiasm for this good news often earns me the scorn of fellow HIV activists.

September 17, 2019
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