Treatment is Prevention
You’ll hear us use the phrase “treatment is prevention” often this week at the International AIDS Conference, so we thought we would explain what that means.
There has long been a debate about how to best divide the funding and resources between treating and preventing HIV/AIDS. Then in 2011, a National Institute of Health study showed that treating HIV/AIDS reduces by 96 percent the risk of sexual transmission of HIV — which is to say, treatment is prevention.
Because of the profound implications for the future response to the AIDS epidemic, Science magazine chose this discover as its Breakthrough of the Year. “The idea of the tension between treatment and prevention, we should just forget about it and just put it behind us, because treatment is prevention,” said Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. government HIV/AIDS scientist.
This new understanding has stimulated scientific and political leaders to claim that ending the HIV epidemic is now a realistic goal. But large funding gaps threaten the gains already made and limit the potential to capitalize on the latest scientific progress.
This week at the International AIDS Conference, through the discussion of our treatment programs, field experiences, and operational strategies, MSF will be highlighting the models of care, tools, and policies necessary to get the best treatment to the most people, showing that when you treat AIDS, you can also stop the virus.