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IAS Conference Concludes With Mostly Positive News On HIV Prevention

“Scientists on Wednesday wrapped up their biggest forum in the 30-year history of AIDS, unveiling stunning weapons to prevent the spread of HIV,” Agence France-Presse reports about the 6th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Rome. The article summarizes study findings presented at the conference, including research on treatment as prevention, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), male circumcision, and flushing out latent reservoirs of HIV in the “quest for a cure” (Ingham, 7/20).

Three studies on male circumcision were presented on Wednesday, with one study showing that “[n]ew cases of HIV among men fell by an astonishing 76 percent after a circumcision program was launched in a South African township,” another Agence France-Presse article reports (7/20). According to Bloomberg News, the findings “are the first evidence that circumcision is altering the course of the world’s deadliest infectious disease in the nation hit hardest by it” (Bennett, 7/20).

Another study presented on Wednesday that was conducted “from 2004 to 2010 in seven African countries – Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa” – found that women living with HIV infection who were taking hormonal contraception were about twice as likely to transmit the virus to their sexual partners compared with their counterparts who were not on hormonal birth control, the Associated Press reports. The study also showed that women on hormonal contraception were about twice as likely to contract HIV from an infected partner than women not taking hormones, the news agency notes (7/20).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.