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AIDS Care. 2000 Dec;12(6):745-55.

Advances in HIV treatment and prevention: should treatment optimism lead to prevention pessimism?

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  • 1INSERM U88, 14 rue de Val d'Osne, 94415 Saint-Maurice, France. flert@st-maurice.inserm.fr

Abstract

Advances in HIV treatment have changed the natural history of HIV disease and improved the life of infected people. But, paradoxically, the transformation of a lethal disease into a chronic condition has lead many people to pessimism regarding the future of HIV prevention. Post-exposure prophylaxis and prophylaxis of vertical transmission have added new tools, although they do not change the main features of HIV prevention which still relies on safer drug use and safer sex. The role assigned to HIV testing started to change in some countries where it had not been encouraged; however the impact of these changes appears still very limited, except for prevention of vertical transmission. Recent developments should be placed in the whole historical perspective of HIV infection: after the early period of dramatic favourable changes (around 1990), positive changes in attitudes and behaviour have slowed down or even stabilized. Proofs of 'relapse' are, however, still tenuous. The impact of therapeutic changes is combined with the normalization process of HIV infection issues. In the general population, HIV infection seems a more remote personal and social concern and the perception of risk has decreased. The changes in the social context of prevention are more diverse. On one hand, some social norms renewed during the HIV era may have long-lasting effects. The acknowledgement of social and human rights of homosexuals and drug users, stimulated by the AIDS movement, has entered a long-term process and may continue to support preventive behaviours. On the other hand, the exceptionalist alliance which supported and stimulated the HIV policies is weakening. This process might be accelerated by improved therapeutic perspectives. The main challenge is the success of the integration of HIV prevention in broader public health policies (including prevention of STI transmission, family planning, health promotion, etc.) without losing advances in prevention strategies gained in the HIV/AIDS era.

PMID:
11177454
DOI:
10.1080/09540120020014291
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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