Highly active antiretroviral therapy should be made freely available in a bid to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, according to experts.
Dr Julio Montaner wrote in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that the widespread use of highly active antiretroviral therapy may reduce the incidence of HIV in individuals. But he says it has been overlooked by public health bodies as a prevention strategy.
This may be due to the complexity of selecting and correct regimen of drugs, the severity of the side-effects and the importance of compliance to prevent viral resistance.
Dr Montaner and co-authors argue that despite advances in HIV treatment, HIV infections continue to increase worldwide.
He said: “Expanded access to highly active antiretroviral therapy for patients with a medical indication will reduce AIDS-related illness and deaths and may reduce HIV incidence.”
“At the population level, access to highly active antiretroviral therapy has been temporally associated with substantial reductions in HIV incidence. For example, population-based research in Taiwan found a 53% reduction in new positive HIV test results after the introduction of free access to highly active antiretroviral therapy.”
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