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Arch Hellen Med, 30(2), March-April 2013, 141-152


Developments in the prevention of HIV infection

M. Kantzanou, A. Hatzakis
National Reference Center of Retroviruses, Laboratory of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics,
Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

The term "HIV prevention" includes a series of programs, actions and services which aim to prevent or reduce HIV transmission from persons who are already seropositive to persons who have not yet been infected. Current epidemiological data and estimates confirm that the HIV epidemic is preserving its dynamic and prevalence rates worldwide, but with wide variations; the necessity of intensifying the preventive interventions for HIV infection is therefore imperative. This is a review of data on the efficacy of current preventive interventions against HIV, including biomedical, behavioral, structural and combined interventions. Current documentation supports the belief that the use of antiretroviral treatment as prophylaxis, and targeted behavioral interventions in developing countries hold the greatest promise for the years to come. Voluntary circumcision in men and the use of condoms have proved efficacious in preventing transmission of HIV infection; however, their global implementation as preventive measures faces a variety of barriers. The reinforcement of combined preventive programs is expected to be critical in achieving the aims of UNAIDS for conclusion by 2015, which are the reduction by 50% of sexual transmission of HIV, the elimination of HIV transmission from mother to infant, the elimination of new HIV infections among intravenous drug users and the reduction by 50% of maternal mortality due to HIV/AIDS. Finally, taking into consideration the global financial crisis, it is important for the selection and implementation of each preventive intervention against HIV infection to be verified and supported by well documented cost-effectiveness studies.

Key words: Antiretroviral treatment, HIV infections, Prevention.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine