HIV therapy is named breakthrough of year

Dec. 27, 2011 at 1:23 AM
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PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The journal Science has named the finding that treatment with anti-retroviral drugs prevents the spread of the AIDS virus its Breakthrough of the Year.

The journal said the clinical trial HPTN 052 demonstrated early initiation of anti-retroviral drugs in people infected with human immunodeficiency virus reduces transmission of the virus to their partners by 96 percent.

The finding, originally published in August in the New England Journal of Medicine, clarified that anti-retroviral treatment not only treats those who are infected but can also reduce HIV transmission of the partners of those infected, the researchers said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci -- who, as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is the government's top HIV researcher -- called the finding astounding. Others called it a "game changer" because of the near 100 percent efficacy of the intervention.

The study was led by Dr. Myron S. Cohen of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but many universities participated in the research.

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