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March 25, 2011

“Test and Treat” Alone Will Not Control U.S. HIV Epidemic

Only 19 percent of people with HIV in the United States have an undetectable viral load. As a result, a “test and treat” strategy alone will not control the epidemic. Those are the conclusions of researchers in a report published in the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases and reported by aidsmap.

The idea of test and treat is to test people for HIV and treat them immediately with antiretroviral medications if they have the virus. By doing so, advocates believe widespread transmission could be stopped because having an undetectable viral load significantly reduces HIV risk.

Researchers cite several factors undermining the potential for test and treat in the United States. They include the amount of late diagnoses (when people develop AIDS within one year of testing HIV positive), low levels of referral to and retention in HIV care and poor adherence to HIV meds.

Even in the best-case scenarios, researchers estimate more than a third of HIV-positive people in the United States would still have a detectable viral load.

To read the aidsmap article, click here.

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