New computer model estimates benefits of HIV care
The model shows that scientists may be able to change the spread and effects of HIV with certain kinds of intervention.
The model indicates that improving the small efforts that help people maintain their lifetime HIV care have more positive long-term benefits than originally thought. Increasing these efforts with stricter testing could avoid an estimated 752,000 new infections of HIV within the next 20 years in the U.S. alone. These same efforts could also prevent 276,000 deaths from AIDS.
"Despite having good treatments available, current reports suggest that fewer than half of individuals who need therapy are actually getting appropriate HIV medicine to control their virus, leading to more transmission of disease," Maunank Shah, M.D., Ph.D., lead author, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said. "The engagement in care of individuals infected with HIV is not what it could or should be."
HIV care that includes retention may also help to save more lives than simply raising the rates of testing. Retention in care refers to actively encouraging patients to participate in their care.
"While continued HIV screening in high-risk groups is extremely important, our model suggests that you get the most bang for your buck targeting retention in care,” Shah said.