A Failure to Disseminate Transformative Science — HIV Treatment as Prevention, 10 Years On

By  Dr. Jacob Bor  Dr Dorina Onoya   Bruce Richman and Kenneth H. Mayer  |  | 

HPTN 052 altered scientific discourse and HIV policy. But has it changed minds? The global scale-up of HIV treatment is one of the greatpublic health success stories of the 21st century. Millions of people with HIV are living longer and healthier lives because of the substantial resources that have been deployed to increase access to medication. Despite widespread awareness of treatment’s therapeutic benefits, however, recent research revealed large global disparities in knowledge about the efficacy of treatment as prevention (TasP).2 Knowledge of TasP is particularly limited in subSaharan Africa, which is home to two thirds of all people with HIV. The science supporting TasP has not been widely disseminated, despite growing evidence that sharing this information has clinical and public health benefits. In HPTN 052, investigators randomly assigned people with HIV in serostatus-discordant couples to immediate or deferred antiretroviral therapy (ART) and compared HIV incidence among the originally HIV-negative partners. The results, published in August 2011, demonstrated what many clinicians and scientists had long suspected: that HIV treatment leading to viral suppression is highly effective in preventing HIV transmission.

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