Health officials are considering a new strategy that they say could effectively kill off HIV/AIDS within 40 years.
The proposal is spearheaded by Professor Brian Williams of the South African Center for Epidemiological Modeling and Analysis (SECEMA). It calls for blanket HIV testing for most of the world’s population, and those found HIV positive would be put immediately on a lifetime course of anti-retroviral drugs.
“If you reduce the viral load, the amount of virus in the blood, then you radically reduce the infectiousness. So, if in fact you get people very soon after they are HIV positive and put them on anti-retrovirals, you reduce the aggregate viral load in the entire population. And therefore you will reduce the rate at which new infections occur,” he says.
By putting people on treatment sooner rather than later and by continuing current treatment programs, overall new infections might be held in check.
Such a testing program would be voluntary, but could raise privacy issues in many countries.