Jun 29, 2010
An interesting boost to the notion that as many people as possible should be tested for HIV so that they can discuss treatment possibilities was presented at the 17th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (abstract 33).
Researchers form the San Francisco Dept of Public Health have found that increased HIV testing rates and also improved and increased uptake of the use of anti-hiv medications - (anti-retorviral drugs - or ARV's for short) has resulted in a reduction in the "community HIV viral load" on San Francisco. Viral load is the term used to describe the amount of HIV in a persons blood stream and or body fluids. The rationale behind the research is that because so many people with HIV have been correctly identified in the San Francisco area, many more have been offered treatment.
The aim of treatment with ARV's is to reduce an individual's viral load and thus his or her infectiousness. The success of the this public health initiative has resulted in a TOTAL drop of viral load in the community which in turn has benefited the community as a whole by a subsequent decline in new cases of HIV between 2004 and 2008.
This is good news as a whole and does give more credence to the drive to test and treat more people at an earlier stage. This also fits with the concept that interventions with treatment in the very early stages of new HIV disease may limit the infectivity of those persons and thus the inadvertent onward passage of HIV to others.