March 10, 2014
This article was reported by Medical Xpress.
Medical Xpress reported on a study in which researchers proposed an effective formula for reducing HIV transmission among drug users in New York City throughout the next 25 years. Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Brown University developed the model on which the formula is based. The model recommends combined use of four methods: "increased HIV testing, improved access to substance abuse treatment, increased use of needle and syringe exchange programs, and broad implementation of antiretroviral treatment as prevention."
The researchers modeled HIV transmission in a group of sexually active individuals ages 15 to 64 in New York City, including injecting and non- injecting drug users as well as non-drug users. They determined the effectiveness of different prevention methods and compared projected HIV incidence in 2020 and 2040 using present methods if one or more of the four interventions were used.
Each individual hypothetical method improved the reduction in HIV transmission. The combination of all four prevention methods prevented the greatest proportion of new cases, and increasing the use of all four simultaneously resulted in a 62.4-percent decrease in new infections by 2040. When researchers combined two strategies -- needle-exchange programs and HIV treatment -- new cases decreased almost as much as with the four combined prevention methods. No intervention completely prevented HIV transmission.
According to Brandon Marshall, Ph.D., assistant professor of public health at Brown University and a former postdoctoral scholar at the Mailman School, the research supports New York's Enhanced Comprehensive Prevention Plan's goals, and emphasizes the need to increase the prevention programs to meet these goals and reach zero incidence.
The full report, "Prevention and Treatment Produced Large Decreases in HIV Incidence in a Model of People Who Inject Drugs," was published in the journal Health Affairs (2014; 33 (3):401-409).
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