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Medical News & Perspectives
May 12, 2010

Scientists Explore Use of Anti-HIV Drugs as a Means to Slow HIV Transmission

JAMA. 2010;303(18):1798-1799. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.578

San Francisco—As the number of new HIV infections continues to outstrip treatment capacity, the need for better prevention strategies becomes ever more apparent. Although attempts to develop an HIV/AIDS vaccine have been discouraging, other approaches to slow the spread of HIV are sparking interest, report researchers at the 17th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

Studies are under way to assess whether a strategy known as “test and treat”—large-scale testing of individuals for HIV infection and initiating treatment with antiretroviral drugs in those who test positive—can help reduce HIV transmission. Scientists also are exploring whether using antiretrovirals in pills and in vaginal gels will offer protection against HIV infection, especially in those with a heightened risk of infection, such as partners of HIV-infected persons and commercial sex workers.