Investigating the impact of treatment on new HIV infections: New PLoS collection

Is it possible to cut HIV transmission by using antiretroviral treatment? A collection of new articles published in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine, in conjunction with the HIV Modelling Consortium, addresses this pressing question.

The PLoS Medicine articles provide insights into the feasibility of interventions, their potential epidemiological impact and affordability, and recent scientific and community trials, which will support evidence-based decision-making on the use of antiretroviral treatment to prevent .

The background to this collection comes from a November 2011 meeting in Stellenbosch, South Africa, which focused on the cross-cutting issues that will affect the impact of new scientific findings about HIV treatment preventing new infections. As the introductory article "HIV Treatment as Prevention: Models, Data and Questions Towards Evidence-based Decision-Making" explains, over the past two years there have been several positive advances in HIV prevention research.

In particular, the authors say: "The finding that has created the greatest excitement has been that HIV-infected individuals who are given antiretroviral treatment (ART) are much less likely to transmit the infection to their heterosexual partners than those who are not." Currently ART is directed at those in greatest clinical need, and expanding the group of people treated would be a substantial change in health policy. It would also have a huge associated cost.

The volume of information needed to make efficient and ethical regarding HIV treatment as prevention is vast, and mathematical models can help pull the information together and structure it in a useful way. One focus of the collection is to evaluate the utility of these models by assessing the level of consistency between them—and between the models and data collected from the real world.

The choice of which particular groups to expand access to ART to depends on a wide range of considerations including, for example, which groups are easiest to access and which groups are most likely to reduce onward transmission. Decisions regarding as prevention are not only practical but ethical, argue leading authors in the series; as on HIV prevention is limited by resource constraints, the authors review how to expand the provision of ART and who to expand it to.

This collection, "Investigating the Impact of Treatment on New HIV Infections", publishes two weeks prior to the AIDS 2012 conference in Washington D.C., which editors and collection authors will be attending.

More information: www.ploscollections.org/TasP2012

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New book on HIV from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

Dec 15, 2011

The worldwide AIDS epidemic makes research on HIV, the disease processes it induces, and potential HIV therapies among the most critical in biomedical science. Furthermore, the basic biology of HIV infections ...

Antiretroviral therapy as HIV prevention strategy

Jun 30, 2008

The widespread use of highly active antiretroviral therapy may reduce the incidence of HIV in individuals and populations but has been overlooked by public health as a prevention strategy, write Dr. Julio Montaner and colleagues ...

Roll out treatment as prevention now to stop HIV and AIDS

Jul 14, 2011

The Lancet, a leading global medical journal, published an editorial comment today that emphasizes the critical role of expanding access to HIV treatment under a "Treatment as Prevention" strategy to stop the HIV pandemic.

Recommended for you

New study reveals why some people may be immune to HIV-1

Nov 20, 2014

Doctors have long been mystified as to why HIV-1 rapidly sickens some individuals, while in others the virus has difficulties gaining a foothold. Now, a study of genetic variation in HIV-1 and in the cells ...

Virus discovery could impact HIV drug research

Nov 20, 2014

A research team led by Portland State University (PSU) biology professor Ken Stedman has unlocked the structure of an unusual virus that lives in volcanic hot springs. The discovery could pave the way for better drugs to ...

UN warns over threat of AIDS rebound

Nov 19, 2014

South African actress Charlize Theron threw her weight Tuesday behind an urgent new UN campaign to end AIDS as a global health threat by 2030.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.