September 7, 2012
NPR's "Shots" blog examines the "test and treat" approach to HIV care and prevention, which "relies on the fact that taking HIV drugs dramatically reduces a person's risk of transmitting the virus to others," and, "[a]s more and more people are put on medication, the epidemic theoretically should fizzle out." The blog continues, "Test and treat sounds good on paper, but some doctors and policymakers have doubts about its feasibility on a large scale."
"An analysis just published in the journal PLoS One questions whether test and treat is the best strategy in developing countries, such as South Africa, where getting drugs to many people is difficult and the rise of drug resistance is a potential problem," "Shots" notes. The blog discusses a mathematical model developed by WHO to "look at how test and treat could alter the course of the HIV epidemic in South Africa" and writes, "Such questions can't be answered with theoretical models. Treatment strategies need to be evaluated experimentally with small projects." The blog adds, "WHO is using the results from these [small] projects and many modeling experiments to develop new guidelines for antiretroviral drugs. It plans to publish these guidelines in 2013" (Doucleff, 9/6).
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