Canada's British Columbia Centre for Excellence in
HIV/AIDS say that if anti-HIV drugs were prescribed for
every HIV patient around the world soon after
infection, the global AIDS pandemic would be nearly
halted, CanWest News Service reports. Because antiretroviral
drugs can dramatically reduce HIV levels in the body
and therefore make transmitting the virus much more
difficult, treating all HIV-positive adults before
they're able to expose their sex partners to the
virus could slash the number of HIV cases in the world
by 98% during the next 45 years. The number of
HIV-positive people worldwide could be cut from about
40 million today to just 1 million in 2050 using the
widespread treatment approach, the study authors say.
Critics say it
would be impossible to implement a global treatment
program because of health care infrastructure gaps in poor
nations and because of the high cost of antiretroviral
drugs. They also say such a program would likely fail
because many people would abandon treatment because of
drug-related side effects and that HIV infections could
increase because people taking anti-HIV drugs may
increasingly engage in risky sexual behaviors.
study will be presented next week at the 16th International
AIDS Conference in Toronto. (The Advocate)
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