Julio Montaner on the Last 20 Years in HIV Research (Video)
Fred Schaich of IFARA spoke with Julio Montaner, M.D., director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, about changes in HIV research and implementation of that research during the past two decades. The 1996 International AIDS Conference in Vancouver, B.C., saw the emergence of triple drug therapy as an effective way to treat HIV infection. Nineteen years later in the same city, that treatment has proven to keep the spread of the disease in check. Treatment as prevention is “Science 101,” as Montaner put it: “If there is virus, you transmit. If there is no virus detectable, you don't transmit.”
We now have the “irrefutable, conclusive, impeccable” proof that starting HIV treatment immediately after testing positive for the virus is beneficial not only to the infected individual, but also to that person's community, Montaner said. He called universal access to HIV treatment a “fundamental right” and urged people around the world to demand of their political leaders that they ensure such access.