Widespread ART coverage can reduce risk of HIV infection, increase life expectancy of general population, studies show

Published on February 23, 2013 at 12:47 AM · No Comments

"An intensive campaign to combat HIV/AIDS with costly antiretroviral drugs in rural South Africa has increased life expectancy by more than 11 years and significantly reduced the risk of infection for healthy individuals, according to new research," the Los Angeles Times reports. "The two studies, published Thursday in the journal Science, come as wealthy Western nations are debating how best to stretch limited AIDS funding at a time of economic stress," the newspaper writes (Morin, 2/21). In one study, researchers followed 16,667 HIV-negative South Africans for seven years in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, observing HIV seroconversions, according to the study abstract. They found that "individual HIV acquisition risk declined significantly with increasing [antiretroviral therapy (ART)] coverage in the surrounding local community," the abstract states, adding, "For example, an HIV-uninfected individual living in a community with high ART coverage (30 to 40 percent of all HIV-infected individuals on ART) was 38 percent less likely to acquire HIV than someone living in a community where ART coverage was low (<10 percent of all HIV-infected individuals on ART)" (Tanser et al., 2/22).

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