Study Proves Anti-Retroviral Drug Therapies Significantly Reduce HIV Transmission Risk

May 12, 2011

Study Proves Anti-Retroviral Drug Therapies Significantly Reduce HIV Transmission Risk Results Highlight Importance of Early Drug Interventions on Prevention, Better Health Outcomes

Washington, DC — Results of a study released today by the HIV Prevention Trials Network demonstrate conclusively what many in the HIV/AIDS community have argued for years, that early treatment with anti-retroviral therapies (ARTs) significantly reduces the risk of HIV transmission to un-infected persons. The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, further highlights the importance of ensuring the availability of medications to all people living with HIV, not just for the health of those individuals, but as an important public health and prevention tool.

The study examined 1,763 “discordant couples” in nine countries, including the United States. One group of participants received ARTs immediately after diagnosis, while the other group did not begin therapy until their CD4 count dropped below 250 cells/mm3 or an AIDS-related event occurred. Among the group that received immediate treatment, only one transmission occurred. Within the group that received delayed treatment, there were 27 recorded cases of transmission. What’s more, those that received immediate treatment had better health outcomes during the trial period compared to those whose treatment was delayed.

“The results of this study come at a critical time for the HIV/AIDS community,” said National Minority AIDS Council Deputy Executive Director Daniel C. Montoya. “With our nation’s AIDS Drug Assistance Programs facing the most serious funding crisis in their history, and some in Washington calling for major cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, this study makes clear the importance of ensuring access to ARTs for all Americans living with HIV. These medications not only safeguard the health of individuals living with HIV, they are extremely valuable as a method of prevention.”

Contact: Kyle Murphy, (202) 483-6622 ext. 333