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PlusNews Examines Push to Evaluate HIV Prevention Strategies

December 3, 2009

PlusNews examines the growing need to test how well HIV prevention strategies work -- a topic addressed Monday at a Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance (SAHARA) conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. "With the global economic crisis squeezing AIDS budgets, and a frustrating lack of progress in significantly reducing new HIV infections, donors and governments are under more pressure than ever to concentrate resources on prevention strategies that are known to work," the news service writes.

The article examines the challenges associated with evaluating the effectiveness of behavioral and social prevention strategies with the scientific "gold standard" known as randomized controlled clinical trials, which "have been successfully used to provide strong evidence for bio-medical prevention strategies such as male circumcision and treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT)." Even when programs are found to be effective, the article notes, implementation and accessing donor funding can be a challenge.

Speaking Monday, "Dr. Innocent Ntanganira, the World Health Organization's regional adviser on HIV prevention, commented that the time for small-scale, piecemeal interventions with little impact was over, and called for evidence-based, cost-effective interventions to be scaled up." The article includes comments from other conference participants and looks at various HIV prevention tactics (12/2).

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