Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dissent Breaks Out In The Ranks

"The approach to prevention and treatment of HIV in the U.S. has undergone a radical and dangerous shift over the past few months.

The new concept, called "Test and Treat" (TNT) or "Testing with Linkage to Care" (TLC) will dramatically increase HIV testing, identify more people with HIV and "link" them to care. Those are worthy objectives.

The danger is that some policy leaders driving these ideas are more interested in "treatment as prevention", meaning getting people with HIV on antiretroviral treatment, than they are in providing the best possible healthcare for them. Because antiretroviral treatment makes one less likely to transmit HIV, they believe treating all people with HIV is a good prevention strategy.

Neither the state of the science or government guidelines support antiretroviral treatment for every person with HIV, but advocates, public health officials and pharmaceutical companies are promoting the idea.

There are also plenty of TNT/TLC proponents, aware of the ethical issues, who rightly recognize that treatment should be recommended only within government-established guidelines supported by conclusive science.

But when important public health officials announce publicly that they seek to put everyone with HIV on treatment, it is cause for concern and ethically unacceptable without informed consent.
" -Sean Strub, Founder & Advisory Editor, POZ Magazine

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