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Science Names HIV Treatment As Prevention Trial As ‘2011 Breakthrough Of The Year’

“The journal Science has chosen the HPTN 052 clinical trial, an international HIV prevention trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID),” which found that early treatment with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) reduced the risk of transmission among sero-discordant partners by 96 percent, as the “2011 Breakthrough of the Year,” an NIH press release states (12/22). “Given resource constraints and logistical hurdles, treatment as prevention isn’t going to sweep the world anytime soon,” Science writes, adding, “But HPTN 052 has made imaginations race about the what-ifs like never before, spotlighting the scientifically probable rather than the possible” (Cohen, 12/23).

“The breakthrough was described by some experts as a tipping point in the fight against AIDS, 30 years after the epidemic first surfaced,” Agence France-Presse writes, noting, “The annual top 10 list by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes the journal Science, appear[s] in the magazine’s December 23 issue” (12/22). Xinhua describes the “nine other ground-breaking scientific achievements” on Science’s list (12/23).

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