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Researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have set out a research agenda to try and determine whether or not a universal, voluntary program of annual STD testing with immediate treatment for anyone who tests positive for HIV, commonly called "test and treat", could actually extinguish the HIV pandemic.
Presented in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the NIAID program draws from a mathematical model published by the World Health Organization in January. That model predicts that within 10 years, a test and treat program could reduce HIV incidence from 20 new cases per 1,000 people per year - the rate in places like South Africa - to less than 1 case per 1,000 per year. In another 40 years, the model predicts the pandemic could be ended completely.
"NIAID is committed to investigating whether these and other experimental approaches to controlling HIV/AIDS work, because together, they have the potential to dramatically curtail the pandemic," says Dr Carl Dieffenbach, director of NIAID's AIDS division.
Some 33 million people globally are infected with HIV today.
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