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July 18, 2010

Treating HIV also Prevents its Spread, Study Finds | Health News: "Provocative new research shows that treating people with the AIDS virus can provide a powerful bonus: It cuts the risk that they will infect others.

"New infections plummeted in parts of Canada as more people went on AIDS drugs, which lowered the amount of virus they had and the chances they would spread it, the study found.

"For every 100 people with HIV who started taking AIDS drugs, new infections dropped by 3% in British Columbia, where the study was done. The number of new infections there has been cut in half since 1996, matching a rise in treatment.

"'The more people you put on therapy, the less transmission there is,' said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The drop in new cases in Canada 'likely could not be explained by anything else,' he said.

"The U.S. government helped pay for the study. Results were published online Sunday by the British medical journal Lancet and were being presented at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna.


"A study a decade ago in Africa found that people with these very low levels of virus were less likely to infect others. Treating pregnant women with HIV lowers the amount of virus they have and the risk they'll pass it on to their babies.

"The new study is the first clear evidence that the same principle holds true on a population level, in everyday community settings.

"It was led by Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in Vancouver."

Lancet title and abstract:

Association of highly active antiretroviral therapy coverage, population viral load, and yearly new HIV diagnoses in British Columbia, Canada: a population-based study