UNAIDS, WHO laud anti-HIV trial results

New York, US (PANA) - The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday lauded the results of an international study that shows that if an HIV-positive person immediately follows an appropriate treatment of anti-retroviral drugs, the risk of transmitting the virus to an uninfected sexual partner is nearly entirely eliminated.

The UN agencies, in a joint statement made available to PANA in New York, said the trial, which was conducted by the HIV Prevention Trials Network, tracked more than 1,700 couples across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the US and found that the risk of infection fell by 96 per cent.

It stated that, "the reduction in risk was so large that the trial was stopped some three to four years ahead of schedule."

UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe, said: "This breakthrough is a serious game changer and now, we need to make sure that couples have the option to choose treatment for prevention and have access to it."

On her part, Margaret Chan, the WHO Director-General, described the results of the study as "a crucial development, because we know that sexual transmission accounts for about 80 per cent of all new infections."

UNAIDS also said it would convene a meeting with other key organizations tackling the scourge of AIDS to discuss the trial and its implications for the response to the disease.

WHO also noted that, in July, it will release new guidelines to assist HIV-positive people to protect their partners.

The two agencies stressed the need for couples to make evidence-based decisions on which combination of HIV prevention options is best for them and that anti-retroviral therapy serves as one of the options made available.

"No single method is fully protective against HIV,” they said.

"Treatment for prevention (anti-retroviral therapy) needs to be used in combination with other HIV prevention options.

"These include correct and consistent use of male and female condoms, waiting longer before having sex for the first time, having fewer partners, male circumcision and avoiding penetrative sex,'' the statement noted.
-0- PANA AA/BOS 13May2011

13 may 2011 15:49:58




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