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Evidence for Prevention of HIV Transmission Reviewed

Last Updated: May 29, 2012.

Evidence-based pharmacologic strategies for prevention of HIV transmission include postexposure prophylaxis, pre-exposure prophylaxis, and early initiation of treatment, according to a review published online May 28 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

TUESDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) -- Evidence-based pharmacologic strategies for prevention of HIV transmission include postexposure prophylaxis, pre-exposure prophylaxis, and early initiation of treatment, according to a review published online May 28 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Isaac I. Bogoch, M.D., from the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature to investigate the evidence and clinical practice for pharmacologic strategies used to prevent HIV transmission among exposed individuals or among those who are at high risk for acquiring HIV infection in a non-occupational setting.

The investigators found that, despite the paucity of data concerning postexposure prophylaxis, evidence suggests that initiation of therapy should start as early as possible, within 72 hours of suspected exposure, and that treatment should be continued for 28 days. Pre-exposure prophylaxis, a newer method targeting high-risk populations, has shown promising results in some trials in terms of prevention of the spread of HIV. For patients infected with HIV, early initiation of treatment can effectively reduce virus transmission, and may offer health benefits for those living with the virus.

"Several pharmacologic strategies exist to prevent HIV infection in people who are at risk of exposure to the virus," the authors write. "Although postexposure prophylaxis has a long history of success, newer methods such as pre-exposure prophylaxis and earlier treatment in the course of infection ('treatment as prevention') are being implemented with some success."

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