Is expanded HIV treatment preventing new infections? Impact of antiretroviral therapy on sexual risk behaviors in the developing world


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Abstract

There have been dramatic increases in access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) across the developing world, and growing public health attention has focused on the possibility of utilizing ART as a means of slowing the global HIV epidemic. The preventive impact of ART will likely depend on decreasing levels of sexual risk behaviors following treatment initiation. The current review study examines the impact of wider access to ART on sexual risk behaviors among HIV-infected individuals in the developing world. The observational studies to date demonstrate that ART is associated with a significant reduction in unprotected sex following treatment initiation. Although data on the impact of ART on possible risk compensation are rapidly expanding across the developing world, more evidence is still needed before we can safely conclude expanded treatment will result in durable decreases in sexual risk behaviors.

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