#HIV: Gaining victory through innovation!
Although a definite cure for HIV has not been discovered yet (despite claims from quarters in Nigeria), the fight against HIV has reached a crescendo where innovative breakthroughs have demystified the dreaded HIV, inspiring high hopes of getting to zero. These three are our unique picks as featured on our #HIV/AIDS edition of HALA Magazine.
TASP… the concept of “Treatment AS Prevention”
The Problem: Over the years, prevention of HIV required only behavioural change directed mainly at HIV negative people as the ABC Concept (A- Abstinence, B- Be faithful to 1 partner, C- use a Condom). However, lessons of life show that old habits hardly die, so a different approach to prevention is important to limit the growing spread of HIV.
The Innovative Solution: The concept of TASP takes a different approach to prevention by targeting HIV + individuals
The Story: The innovative concept of “Treatment as Prevention, TasP” was spurred by a series of studies on the effectiveness of anti-retroviral medications, the most significant study being the HPTN 052 (pdf)– a randomized controlled trial among sero-discordant couples in 2011. One group of HIV + partner commenced treatment at CD4 counts of of 350 – 550, while the other group waited till below 350 (the current WHO recommendation as practiced in most countries). The clinical trial had to stop midway because of its compelling interim results which showed that the group with CD4 counts of 350-500 showed a 96% lower chance of sexually transmitting the virus to their uninfected partners compared to those who did not.
Conclusion: To prevent the spread of HIV, get as many HIV + people to get compliant with their medications ASAP!