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Combining improved access to HIV testing and intervention efforts that seek to reduce risk sexual behaviors could result in a dramatic reduction in infection rates, according to a new study from Yale University researchers.
The investigators developed a computer model to test the cost-effectiveness of various preventative measures. They found that providing annual HIV tests to individuals who are in high-risk groups could result in a 6.7 percent reduction in new HIV cases each year.
"Expanding HIV screening and treatment simultaneously offers the greatest health benefit and is cost-effective," the authors wrote in their report. "However, even substantial expansion of HIV screening and treatment programs is not sufficient to markedly reduce the U.S. HIV epidemic without substantial reductions in risk behavior."
Therefore, they concluded that expanded HIV testing measures will only achieve their greatest effect when they are combined with measures to reduce risky sexual behavior.
The results confirm the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that HIV testing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of the infection.
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