Dr Gitau Mburu, the Alliance’s Senior Advisor HIV and Health Services, said today. “This is a significant trial and a highly significant finding. It confirms that treatment can be used for HIV prevention. It means it’s even more important that we ensure that the two thirds of people who still can’t access treatment can get it.
“The evidence shows the tremendous benefits of anti-retroviral therapy to not only maintain a person’s health but also to reduce sexual transmission to an HIV negative partner.
“It also showed that patients starting anti-retroviral therapy early have reduced likelihood of developing extra-pulmonary TB, a very common infection in people with HIV.
“As exciting as this development is we must ensure that anti-retroviral therapy is provided within a package of support services that includes HIV couple counselling, STI screening, HIV testing and providing condoms. All the couples in the study were provided with a range of HIV care and services which enabled them to reap the optimum benefits of anti-retroviral treatment.
“Combination prevention must therefore continue to be a part of the response. Just providing pills alone won’t keep people from acquiring HIV.
“Currently only one third of those in need get treated. As governments meet for the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS in June to negotiate a new international agreement, I hope that they will commit to reach 80% anti-retroviral therapy coverage by 2015 so the 15 million people in need access the treatment that will keep them and their partners alive and healthy.”
National Institure of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: Treating HIV-infected People with Antiretrovirals Protects Partners from Infection