Dr Thomas C. Quinn Outlines Measures to Prevent HIV Infection

Focus on behavioral interventions to prevent HIV transmission has been unsuccessful but the more recent intervention of using antiretroviral drugs has more promise, said Thomas C. Quinn, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health.

Why have previous HIV/AIDS prevention programs been ineffective?
For years, we focused on behavioral interventions. Which worked in some cases, but not all. We have sexually transmitted infections because behavioral interventions haven't been as successful as we might like them to be. The more recent intervention is the use of antiretroviral drugs for prophylaxis. So that is taking high-risk individuals and putting them on an antiretroviral drug to prevent HIV acquisition. If they're adherent, it does block it. But nonadherence is always, again, a behavioral issue. So that's something that has to be dealt with.

The second part is, even though we know PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis works, a lot of countries haven't approved it. And it is a cost-effective measure, but the policies and the politics behind licensure and use and recommendation of these drugs in many countries of the world has lagged. And I think that is in part one of the reasons why we continue to see a rise in HIV infection in those countries.
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