News / Africa

Study Finds Early Treatment Can Prevent Spread Of AIDS

A patient undergoes a pin prick blood test inside a mobile healthcare clinic parked in downtown Johannesburg, 29 Nov 2010
A patient undergoes a pin prick blood test inside a mobile healthcare clinic parked in downtown Johannesburg, 29 Nov 2010

Multimedia

Carol Pearson

An international clinical trial of HIV/AIDS cases shows that when one infected partner gets early drug treatment, the risk of transmitting the disease to the uninfected partner is dramatically reduced.

For every person in sub-Saharan Africa who gets treated for AIDS, health clinics have to turn two infected people away.  But now a new study, with participants in 13 cities, could help control the AIDS pandemic and change the way HIV is treated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is with the National Institutes of Health. "Many studies have been showing that the earlier you start, the better it is for the person who is infected. This study shows that not only is it better for the person who is infected, but it helps that person from transmitting to the person that's their sexual partner, heterosexual partner," he said.


The study looked at almost 2,000, mostly heterosexual couples. Only three percent of the participants were homosexual - so researchers don't know if studies in the gay population would have the same results.

Some of the infected participants started taking antiretroviral drugs right after being diagnosed with HIV. Others started taking them when they began getting sick. The study was supposed to last until 2015, but researchers stopped it because the risk of transmission to the uninfected partners was reduced by 96 percent. "This is a powerful bit of evidence that will go into the thinking and formulation of guidelines and of global policy, policy by WHO, by UN AIDS,  by the international organizations that help to provide drugs in the developing world," he said.

Blood tests from all of the participants showed cell counts between 350 to 550 cells per cubic milliliter of blood.  That range is a sign of some mild damage to the immune system.
The study is being read with great interest by local health organizations, including the Whitman Walker Health Center in Washington.

Justin Goforth is a nurse and director of Whitman-Walker's Community Health Division.  He says many of the division's HIV patients are already given anti-retroviral therapy as soon as they are diagnosed within that range. "Anybody from 350 to 500 T-cells, we're going to work with them to get them ready to work the treatment into their life and to understand that this is a daily commitment for the rest of their life and so on," he said.

Dr. Fauci says the results have universal applications.  If newly infected people can be tested and treated before they feel sick enough to see a doctor, Dr. Fauci says people with HIV disease can get help and the medications will prevent them from spreading AIDS.

Dr. Fauci says other proven ways of preventing the spread of AIDS still need to be used: people need to use condoms and microbicides. Men should be circumcised, and people need to practice monogamy.

The challenge is that it is not going to be easy to get to all the people who are infected because the vast majority of people who are infected don't know it.  Another challenge could be the cost of running a program that includes wide-spread testing and education, and devoting even more of fragile public health budgets to fighting AIDS.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid