Test And Treat – The Future Of HIV Control?

April 17th, 2015 by INMED

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While HIV disease is relatively controlled in wealthier nations, the threat and suffering from HIV continues to be devastating throughout much of our world. One intriguing potential intervention for eliminating HIV from high endemic regions is know as “Test And Treat.” In short, this approach is to provide wide access to voluntary testing and then to initiate ART/ARV therapy to everyone who is HIV positive, regardless of their state of immunocompetency. Such therapy so reduces viral loads among infected person that they are almost entirely incapable of transmitting the disease to others.

 

Clearly such an approach is accompanied by a host of possible advantages and disadvantages. Unraveling these questions are researchers who include those at Macha Mission Hospital – an INMED Training Site in Zambia. John Spurrier career physician in Zambia with Brethren in Christ Church, is a leader in the endeavor. Dr. Spurries is optimistic, pointing out that when taken properly, 95 percent of the time, ART reduces the virus so effectively that within months it is undetectable in body fluids. “You haven’t cured them. You’ve just so totally suppressed the virus they gain weight and live a normal life,” he observes.

 

The unanswered questions in global health are numerous and pressing. For those with a research interest INMED offers hearty encouragement, and well as precious service-learning experiences with active researchers like John Spurrier.

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