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Starting individuals infected with the human immunodeficiency virus on antiretroviral therapies early on may help reduce the spread of the disease and limit the number of new individuals who receive positive HIV tests, according to a new study from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The researchers studied 1,763 couples for a period of five years. One of the partners in each couple was infected with HIV while the other was healthy. The researchers gave half of the HIV-infected patients antiretroviral therapy as soon as they were diagnosed, with the other group receiving treatment only after their condition advanced to a certain point.
The results of this testing showed that early treatment prevented the spread of HIV to the uninfected partner in 96 percent of the cases.
"This new finding convincingly demonstrates that treating the infected individual - and doing so sooner rather than later - can have a major impact on reducing HIV transmission," said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the institute.
Given the fact that the number of positive HIV tests continues to mount in the U.S., the findings could have major implications.
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