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Indian study proves that more people virally suppressed in a population equals fewer HIV infections
Gus Cairns, 2016-04-06 07:30:00

The proportion of people living with HIV in a population who have a detectable viral load is much more strongly associated with the rate of ongoing HIV infection in that community (HIV incidence) than the average viral load in people living with HIV (community viral load), a large study in men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs in India has shown.

This applied whether average viral load was measured among all people with HIV, among all people diagnosed and aware of their viral load, or only among people in medical care.

The findings may provide a useful measure to enable treatment programmes to monitor the effectiveness of test and treat programmes in reducing HIV incidence, but researchers say that long-term follow up is needed.

The proportion of people with HIV who were taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) was moderately associated with HIV incidence; this, the researchers say, could be used as a less-strong predictor of incidence in areas where viral load testing is not regularly available.

The findings were published in Lancet HIV online ahead of print in March 2016.