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Trop Med Int Health. 2014 Sep;19(9):1015-28. doi: 10.1111/tmi.12344. Epub 2014 Jun 27.

Review: [corrected] The changing face of the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Somkhele, South Africa.

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  • Trop Med Int Health. 2014 Dec;19(12):1525..


The widespread roll-out of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has substantially changed the face of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Timely initiation of ART in HIV-infected individuals dramatically reduces mortality and improves employment rates to levels prior to HIV infection. Recent findings from several studies have shown that ART reduces HIV transmission risk even with modest ART coverage of the HIV-infected population and imperfect ART adherence. While condoms are highly effective in the prevention of HIV acquisition, they are compromised by low and inconsistent usage; male medical circumcision substantially reduces HIV transmission but uptake remains relatively low; ART during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding can virtually eliminate mother-to-child transmission but implementation is challenging, especially in resource-limited settings. The current HIV prevention recommendations focus on a combination of preventions approach, including ART as treatment or pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis together with condoms, circumcision and sexual behaviour modification. Improved survival in HIV-infected individuals and reduced HIV transmission risk is beginning to result in limited HIV incidence decline at population level and substantial increases in HIV prevalence. However, achievements in HIV treatment and prevention are threatened by the challenges of lifelong adherence to preventive and therapeutic methods and by the ageing of the HIV-infected cohorts potentially complicating HIV management. Although current thinking suggests prevention of HIV transmission through early detection of infection immediately followed by ART could eventually result in elimination of the HIV epidemic, controversies remain as to whether we can treat our way out of the HIV epidemic.


ART; TAR; TasP; VIH; antiretroviral therapy; human immunodeficiency virus; incidence; incidencia; mortalidad; mortality; mortalité; prevalence; prevalencia; prevención; prevention; prévalence; prévention; traitement préventif; tratamiento como prevención; treatment as prevention

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