NewsBREAKTHROUGH OF THE YEAR

HIV Treatment as Prevention

Science  23 Dec 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6063, pp. 1628
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6063.1628

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Summary

HIV/AIDS researchers have long debated whether antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) used to treat HIV-infected people might have a double benefit and cut transmission rates. To some it was obvious: ARVs reduce HIV levels, so individuals should be less infectious. Skeptics contended that this was unproven. Then in May of this year, the 052 clinical trial conducted by the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) reported that ARVs reduced the risk of heterosexual transmission by 96%. Because of HPTN 052's profound implications for the future response to the AIDS epidemic, Science has chosen it as its Breakthrough of the Year.