News / Africa

HIV/AIDS ‘Treatment as Prevention’ a Top Priority

Dr. Julio Montaner is a leading advocate for treatment as a prevention strategy for HIV/AIDS
Dr. Julio Montaner is a leading advocate for treatment as a prevention strategy for HIV/AIDS

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

A top AIDS expert says the best way to control the epidemic is to use antiretroviral drugs as a prevention tool. The “treatment as prevention” strategy will be highlighted at next week’s AIDS conference in Rome.

Dr. Julio Montaner says the strategy “has progressed from a testable hypothesis to an urgent implementation priority.”

“We originally came with the recommendation for treatment as prevention back in 2006. We felt at that time that the data was compelling enough to make that recommendation,” he said.

It was a policy put in place in Vancouver, Canada, where Montaner heads the British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

“A lot of people felt that further evidence was needed, that the naysayers had reservations and so on and so forth. We estimated at that time that treatment could prevent more than 90 percent of the transmission of HIV that we see in the world. Earlier treatment decreases morbidity and mortality among those infected with HIV. But secondarily, it decreases HIV transmission,” he said.

Evidence

Dr. Montaner will speak at the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Rome. It runs from July 17th to the 20th. He is the former head of the International AIDS Society and has written about the prevention strategy in The Lancet, a British medical publication.

Recent studies have supported his views. For example, two studies done in Kenya, Uganda and Botswana show that a single pill containing two drugs, taken daily, can prevent an uninfected person from HIV transmission. It’s called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, and it has a protection rate as high as 73 percent.

Another study shows that when infected people get on treatment early and stay on it, they are much less likely to infect another person during sex. Montaner says the results of a long-term study by the US National Institutes of Health show a protection rate of 96 percent. Those results will be formally released in Rome.

“Let’s go with it and we’ll see how we can control HIV within this decade,” he said.

Promises past and present

In 2005, at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, leaders pledged to have universal access to HIV treatment by 2010. That didn’t happen. Last month, a high-level UN meeting also committed to providing universal access to 15 million people by 2015.

“Is the political leadership at the global level going to deliver on their promise or is it going to be the same as it happened when they had previously promised universal access to treatment by 2010? And we fell short by a third to a half and there was not even an apology,” he said.

“The evidence is in,” Montaner said. “Treatment is prevention.” He rejects arguments that it would too expensive to put millions more people on antiretroviral drugs as a prevention measure. He says in the long run, it would not only save a lot of money, but also save a lot of lives.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More