Treatment as Prevention in HIV/AIDS
The introduction of combination highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) regimens in 1996 has led to substantial reductions in HIV-related morbidity and mortality. Effective treatment reduces blood levels of the HIV virus, potentially making the host less infective. With reductions in the risk of progression to AIDS or death ranging from 65 to 85 per cent, the important role that the provision of HAART has in the overall strategy to control the advance of the HIV/AIDS pandemic is now generally agreed upon. The work of Canada Research Chair in Global Health, Dr. Edward Mills, aims to evaluate the impact of expanded access to HAART on the incidence of HIV.
People living in under-privileged settings have historically been denied access to life-saving treatment for HIV/AIDS. Efforts to scale up access to drugs are now expanding in some settings, but many are left without access and will ultimately die. If patients can be provided access to anti-retroviral therapy, the levels of the virus in their system and bodily fluids will be reduced, decreasing the likelihood that they can easily infect other people.
Working in Uganda, with the Joint Clinical Research Centre and The AIDS Support Organization (TASO), Mills is evaluating the success of treatment among patients living with HIV/AIDS and also evaluating the population-level incidence of HIV/AIDS in high-risk populations. As Canada Research Chair, Mills’ research will also increase the presence and profile of Canadian research in Africa.