Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Drugs 'won't stop HIV spreading if used alone'

Shares

Widespread use of anti-HIV drugs in developing countries could, paradoxically, increase the number of HIV-infected people, according to a study published in PLoS Medicine this week.

Its authors used computer models to predict how different ways of increasing access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) — a combination of three HIV drugs — might affect HIV infection rates.

They say their results show that ART is unlikely to stop the spread of HIV in poor countries unless it is combined with different ways of limiting infection rates, such as promoting safe sex.

Although ART makes it less likely that patients will spread HIV by decreasing the amount of the virus that they carry, it also slows disease progression. As a result, people on ART live longer, giving them more time to pass the virus on to others.

"This paper should not be a disincentive for funding ART, but more a discussion of the allocation of funding, and what compromise should be made between quality of care and treatment coverage," co-author Rebecca Baggaley of Imperial College in the United Kingdom told SciDev.Net.

Link to full paper in PLoS Medicine

Republish
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.