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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

HIV testing and treatment programmes in sub-Saharan Africa need to prioritise older individuals, according to research published in PLOS ONE. Investigators in Uganda found that after starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) people aged 50 years and older had higher mortality and poorer immune reconstitution compared to younger people.

September 5, 2018

According to the results of Namibia’s first ever population-based HIV survey, known as NamPHIA, the country exceeded many of the 90-90-90 targets set by UNAIDS in 2014. The targets call for countries to get 90 percent of people living with HIV diagnosed; 90 percent of those diagnosed accessing treatment; and 90 percent of people on treatment to have suppressed viral loads by 2020.

August 14, 2018

HIV research has made two huge leaps, a groundbreaking vaccine trial and a team of researchers who have figured out how the virus hides in our bodies.

July 11, 2018
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