Sexual Health news - HIV

Healthcare professionals need to identify risky behaviors to prevent HIV

Sexually transmitted diseases and HIV are a growing epidemic, not only in the U.S., but around the world. In order to treat infected individuals, researchers and practitioners need to better understand how risky behavior, access to medical resources and treatment relate to each other.

According to the study published in the journal AIDS and Behavior, there are three main subgroups of individuals who currently live with HIV. They include people who are unaware that they are infected, those who know they're infected but choose to continue engaging in risky activities, and men and women who, in general, participate in dangerous behavior.

The researchers set out to determine the best way to prevent transmission among each of these groups. The approaches include "testing and linkage to care," "treatment as prevention," and "treatment as clinical care." Such strategies can help scientists and public health officials figure out the most appropriate interventions for different populations of individuals, and prevent new infections from occurring.

"HIV prevention needs an approach that is truly synergistic, resulting in an effect that is more than the sum of the intervention's parts," said the authors of the study.

In addition, Cochrane researchers recently found that it is possible to give individuals who are at high risk for HIV antiretroviral (ARV) therapy as a means of averting the disease. Their results suggest that this method could reduce transmission by 96 percent in straight couples where one person is infected, and 50 percent in high-risk individuals.