NIAID researchers create blueprint for HIV prevention and treatment
Scientists have spent years determining the ideal time for beginning antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV infections. Some clinicians say the treatment’s risk of toxicity does not make up for its benefits, which are designed to control the infection.
With evidence from three trials, the scientists have shown there are benefits to beginning the treatments early. These have been proved to be worth any potential risk of the drug’s toxicity.
The three studies were SMART (conducted in 2006), HPTN 052 (conducted in 2011), and START (conducted in 2015). Combined, the evidence shows that the treatments protect people who have HIV infections and also stop the transmission from spreading to sexual partners who do not have the virus.
Now, the scientists say they are waiting to see whether this evidence can stir global political will. The promising results of the treatments may be enough to generate the financial resources and leadership support that are needed to heighten HIV treatment and testing around the world.