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STD testing plays an important role in connecting at-risk individuals to treatment that could prevent their condition from progressing and reduce the chances that they will spread the infection to others, according to a new paper published in the journal AIDS and Behavior.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University pointed to recent findings from the National Institutes of Health indicating that treating infected people with antiretroviral medications can reduce the risk of transmitting the disease to their heterosexual partners by up to 96 percent.
This finding - which has come to be known as treatment as prevention - has been much heralded, but the researchers said it only represents a small piece of the total HIV prevention picture.
The team said that public health officials and medical professionals should take a broader look at patients' behavioral factors in order to make sure that prevention strategies are delivered appropriately. Some people may benefit most from STD testing and treatment in the event of a positive test, while others who are already known to be infected and have healthy partners may benefit from treatment as prevention.
Being able to prevent the spread of HIV among partners through medication is positive, but the researchers said these considerations play an important role in understanding the full scope of prevention.
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