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October 9, 2013

Global HIV Treatment Reaches Tipping Point in Many Nations

Many of the countries with the greatest HIV epidemics are now in a sense winning the war against the disease, according to The New York Times. AVAC, the HIV treatment and prevention advocacy group, has conducted an analysis comparing the ratio of new infections in a particular country or region to the increase in people on antiretrovirals (ARVs). If a country begins to put more people on therapy than are newly infected, a crucial “tipping point” is reached.

The world on a whole is slightly below reaching this tipping point, dragged down by the hard-hit nations of Nigeria, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, India, Burundi and Kenya. Nigeria’s epidemic is by far the most challenged, with more than four new infections for every one person put on ARVs. Sub-Saharan Africa’s ratio is actually better than the globe’s at large; the region is only a hair below the tipping point.

Meanwhile, those nations considered winners in the fight against HIV include Rwanda, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Ethiopia and Haiti, among others.

AVAC stresses that it is possible for countries to slip back into losing territory. On an informational poster, the agency writes: “That’s why it is essential to achieve optimal coverage rates of high-impact prevention including voluntary medical male circumcision, male and female condoms and harm reduction. Newer strategies such as PrEP [pre-exposure prophylaxis] and, eventually, a microbicide or vaccine should also be used for maximum impact.”

To read a POZ feature on circumcision as HIV prevention, click here.

To read the Times story, click here.

To read the AVAC poster, click here.

Search: HIV, tipping point, ratio, AVAC, treatment, antiretrovirals, new infections, The New York Times, voluntary medical male circumcision.

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