Mitchell Warren on HIV Prevention Research

August 24, 2015

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Fred Schaich of IFARA spoke with Mitchell Warren, executive director of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, about HIV prevention research presented at the 8th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Vancouver, Canada. Much of that research confirms what we already know, Warren said. Treatment as prevention works when linked to a serodiscordant relationship, but more prevention services are needed outside such relationships. The Kenyan COUPLES study provides one avenue by combining treatment of the HIV-infected partner with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for the uninfected partner to address transmission events not linked to that relationship.

Warren pronounced 2015 “a really important turning point” because research proved that treatment upon diagnosis, coupled with PrEP for anyone at high risk of infection, is the best way to prevent the spread of the virus. Another important development is the involvement of industry in vaccine studies, he said.

However, antiretrovirals alone cannot end the AIDS epidemic, Warren believes. Criminalization and stigmatization of HIV infection must end so that both prevention and treatment services can be implemented. “Even with the greatest antiretroviral, even with the greatest vaccine strategy, if we don’t address those fundamental issues, we do not end this epidemic,” he concluded.

Watch the video to learn more: