AIDS: new data from a Montreal study


McGill and Université de Montréal researchers shed more light on recent study

Dr. Mark Wainberg and Dr. Bluma Brenner of McGill University’s AIDS Research Centre at the Jewish General Hospital and Dr. Michel Roger of the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal today announced new data from a study of patients treated at Montreal clinics during the seventh Journées québécoises VIH symposium.

The reported findings of this eight-year study include that 80% of new HIV transmission is from people who have never received anti-HIV therapy. At the same time, the scientists found that transmission of drug-resistant strains of HIV is occurring in about 14% of cases and that a newly infected individual who has never received antiviral drugs is nonetheless capable of transmitting a drug-resistant strain.

“We know from experience that people who know they are HIV positive are usually prepared to modify their high-risk behaviours. Our data could therefore have profound implications for public health,” said Dr. Wainberg.

For Dr. Roger, this study confirms the serious risks of HIV infection. “In light of this data, we must reconsider current treatment recommendations,” he said. “Beginning therapy in the acute phase of the infection could reduce transmission. We must, however, consider the safety of the drugs and the possibility of transmitting resistant strains if there is non-compliance with treatment. »

About 2,500 patients treated at eight Montreal clinics specializing in HIV treatment were included in this study. The results, which were made public in early March, will be published in the April issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, and are already available for consultation online.

"High Rates of Forward Transmission Events after Acute/Early HIV-1 Infection"
"Primary HIV Infection, Phylogenetics, and Antiretroviral Prevention"

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Céline Poissant
McGill University
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