May 13, 2011
By Thomas H. Maugh II – Los Angeles Times – Friday, May 13, 2011
In what is being hailed as a landmark breakthrough in HIV prevention, a new study has shown that giving anti-AIDS drugs to HIV-positive people can reduce the transmission of the virus to spouses and partners by 96 percent, U.S. researchers said Thursday.
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Though some studies of populations had previously suggested that treatment of patients with antiretroviral drugs could slow transmission of the virus, the new results announced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases represent the first large clinical trial to confirm those suggestions and showed that the drugs are unexpectedly effective.
The results of the study of nearly 1,800 couples in the United States and southern Africa were so dramatic that the study’s sponsors decided to terminate it prematurely – four years before its scheduled completion in 2015.
The study shows that not only does early treatment of HIV infections benefit the patient’s own health, but also “there is clearly a benefit of a profound decrease in the probability of .?.?. transmission to his or her own partner,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of NIAID, said in a news conference.
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