One big step closer to preventing HIV

Cross your fingers! With the help of ARV drugs, HIV just might be preventable.

The journal Science chose an international HIV prevention trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) (part of the National Institutes of Health) as the 2011 Breakthrough of the Year. The study, which included 1,763 heterosexual couples from a number of different countries, treated the HIV positive member of each couple with antiretroviral drugs (ARV) while they were healthy—as opposed to waiting until their immune systems had been compromised by the virus. The treatment reduced the chances of spreading the virus to the HIV negative partner by 96%. It was such a success from the get-go that the Data Safety Monitoring Board (an independent review committee required for clinical trials by Institutional Review Boards) ended the study early so that everyone originally in the control group could receive the treatment too. Congrats to the researchers and here’s hoping this leads to more access to ARV drugs on a global scale! [The Body]

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