UNAIDS welcomes further evidence of the positive impact of antiretroviral therapy on preventing new HIV infections
March 21 2012 at 12:18
GENEVA, 8 March 2012—Researchers from the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies have presented results which show that in areas where antiretroviral therapy uptake is high (greater than 30%) people who do not have HIV are 38% less likely to acquire the virus than in areas of low uptake (less than 10%).
“These findings are extremely important. UNAIDS encourages all countries and communities to achieve high coverage of antiretroviral therapy, both for the benefit of people living with HIV and for the communities in which they live,” said Paul De Lay, Deputy Executive Director, Programme, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
It is the first time the positive impact of antiretroviral therapy on HIV incidence has been demonstrated in a community setting. The findings also confirm results from the recent HPTN052 study which showed that if an HIV-positive person adheres to an effective antiretroviral therapy regimen, the risk of transmitting the virus to their uninfected sexual partner can be reduced by 96%.
The study used HIV surveillance data collected since 2003 in a rural area of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. In the study area, 20 000 people living with HIV had accessed antiretroviral therapy since 2004 through public-sector primary health care.