Treatment To Prevent HIV Spread
Up until now, many studies have been made in order to find ways of preventing the HIV from spreading.
According to a new research, it seems that this is possible now, thanks to a combination of drugs. “This is an extremely exciting finding for the field of HIV prevention,” said Dr. Jared Baeten, co-chair of one study and a University of Washington. From what it seems, giving antiretroviral to heterosexuals who find themselves at high risks of HIV infection can significantly decrease their chances of developing AIDS.
The study was based on two trials which were made in Africa. In one of the trials, a daily dose of Truvada significantly reduced the risk of contracting HIV from an infected partner by 63 percent. The other trail showed that both Viread and Truvada, two different treatments, worked as well in matters of preventing the spreading of the virus. Previous research showed that the treatment with antiretroviral was very effective in the prevention of HIV among gay and bisexual men, but up until now there was no proof that these treatments may work among heterosexuals as well.
According to the researchers involved in the study, it seems that if heterosexuals started the treatment with antiretrovirals as soon as they are diagnosed with HIV and their immune system is still somewhat healthy, they could prevent their partners from contracting the virus almost by 90 percent, which is fairly good news.
This new study was conducted by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the Botswana Ministry of Health. What the researchers involved in the study did was to recruit 1,219 HIV-negative people and start them on treatments with antiretrovirals or dummy pills. Plus, the people involved were also given other measures of prevention, such as condoms and they were also engaged into counseling and testing. What the researchers observed was that by the end of the study, those people who had taken the antiretroviral pills (Truvada mostly) had risks reduced by 62.6 percent in what concerns the spreading of the virus to their partners. Furthermore, it seems that for those who continued taking the pills, the risks lower even further, being reduced by 77.9 percent. Although some people taking Truvada reported nausea, dizziness and vomiting, the pill does not pose great health risks and that is very promising. Given that the pill has been reported very soon to be so effective, the CDC released the information sooner than was planned.
Another trial was made in Kenya and Uganda, where 4,758 couples were recruited and they were assigned to start treatment with Viread, Truvada or a placebo. Given that all the couples involved in the study had a partner who had tested positive for HIV, the pills seemed to work very well, as only 78 HIV infection occurred while people were following the Viread treatment, only 18 for people who were following the Truvada treatment, while 47 occurred for people who were on placebo pills. The risk of developing HIV for people who were following the treatment with Viread was lowered by 62 percent, while for those on Truvada; it was lowered by 72 percent.
According to the researchers involved in the studies, it seems that the main concern today in matters of HIV problems is to deliver successful prevention measures for people who are most in need. Based on this new research, the CDC is working on new strategies to help people better prevent the spread of the virus. The most important thing now is to identify all the people with HIV and start them on either of these two treatments and hope that this would be the start of a new era in what concerns HIV prevention.
HIV is the virus which causes AIDS, the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The virus makes the immune system work improperly and leaves people who have the virus with great risks of contracting other very serious illnesses with which a poor immune system cannot deal, thus leading to their death. In 2009, 33.3 million people around the world were estimated to be living with HIV or AIDS and since the 1980s, when a great HIV pandemic started, researchers have been trying to find a way from the virus to cause AIDS.11