Thursday, January 21, 2010

University of North Carolina: PrEP treatment prevented (rectal) HIV transmission in humanized mice

It is painfully clear that treatment alone will not put a dent in the progression of the AIDS epidemic.

Systemic pre-exposure administration of antiretroviral drugs provides protection against intravenous and rectal transmission of HIV in mice with human immune systems, according to a new study published January 21, 2010 in the online journal PLoS ONE.

“These results provide evidence that a universal approach to prevent all forms of HIV transmission in all settings might be possible,” said J. Victor Garcia-Martinez, Ph.D., professor in the department of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and senior author of the study (pictured).  “This could greatly facilitate the implementation of a single program capable of targeting virtually all groups of people at high risk of HIV infection.”

According to data from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV diagnoses increased by a staggering 15 percent between 2004 and 2007.  Rectal exposure is the leading cause of HIV transmission among men who have sex with men, and since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 500,000 have been diagnosed with HIV in the United States alone and more than 300,000 have died.

These latest findings are welcome news after the recent announcements that an AIDS vaccine trial in Thailand showed only marginal success and a large international trial of a vaginal microbicide found no evidence that it reduces the risk of HIV infection.

Read the rest (and check out the video).

Read the paper.

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