Beginning antiretroviral therapy very early is extremely effective in preventing the sexual transmission of the HIV virus in couples that are heterosexual where one of the individuals is infected with the virus and the other one is not. A decade-long trial involving participants in India and other countries claims that early intervention may prevent transmission of HIV.
The new discoveries were presented at the 8th International AIDS Society Conference on the HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention on Monday in Vancouver, Canada. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States, Anthony Fauci said that the new research makes it clear that when a person who is infected with the HIV virus receives antiretroviral therapy in order to keep the virus under control, the treatment is extremely effective at stopping the transmission of the HIV virus sexually to a heterosexual partner that is uninfected with it. Fauci added that heterosexuals who can accomplish and maintain the virus under control, have lower risks to transmit the disease to their partners.
The study began in 2005 in April and it enrolled 1,763 couples of 18 years or older and heterosexuals from Zimbabwe, the United States, Thailand, South Africa, Malawi, Kenya, Brazil, Botswana and India.
Each of the couples had one partner infected with HIV and the other uninfected. The infected partners were randomly designated either to begin the antiretroviral therapy immediately, when their immune systems were somewhat healthy, or to postpone the beginning of the treatment until their immune systems were weak or they began developing an illness associated with AIDS. The experiment at the time was consistent with the World Health Organization guidelines.
All of the participants in the study were given counseling regarding how to shield their partners from the transmission of the HIV virus sexually and condoms. At the end of the research, 1,171 of the couples remained inside the clinical trial. The results of the study showed that beginning the antiretroviral therapy very early proved to reduce the transmission of the HIV virus sexually by 93 percent during the study.
Only eight of the cases of transmission of the HIV virus sexually took place in uninfected partners with HIV patients who were given antiretroviral therapy. The study claiming that early intervention may prevent transmission of HIV is incredibly important in the battle with the deadly virus.
Image Source: healthyblackmen.org