GNP+ supports WHO recognition of Treatment as Prevention
Thursday, 27 November 2008
The Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+) welcomes the assertion from WHO that widespread access to HIV treatment contributes to prevention (a) - but concerns need to be addressed.
GNP+ welcomes the WHO breakthrough in thinking on Treatment as Prevention
Treatment as Prevention is a concept that has been known and lived by people living with HIV (PLHIV) for some time. GNP+ in collaboration with the South African Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) recently finalised a WHO-funded research project(b) in which 51 serodiscordant couples in three countries (South Africa, Tanzania and Ukraine) were interviewed (c), including the role of treatment in their relationships and reproductive choices.
The hypothesis put forward by the WHO mathematical model asserts that universal annual voluntary HIV testing and immediate treatment with ARVs - regardless of CD4 status - could eventually drive the HIV epidemic towards elimination. This assertion is based on an acceptance of the idea that HIV transmission decreases when PLHIV are on treatment.
This is a breakthrough in thinking from the UN agency. GNP+ appreciates that the model indicates clearly that universal voluntary testing and early treatment lead to a significant reduction in HIV transmission.
The positive aspects of this model are that it assumes that testing will become more widely available and that treatment access will improve to the point where everyone who tests HIV positive will have access to ARVs when they choose to commence treatment.