(HealthDay News) – For uninfected partners of HIV-positive individuals in China, transmission is reduced with antiretroviral therapy for the HIV-positive individual, according to a study published online Dec. 1 in The Lancet.
Zhongwei Jia, PhD, from Peking University in China, and colleagues analyzed the annual rate of HIV infection in HIV-negative partners of serodiscordant couples, stratified by treatment status of the index partner. Data were collected for 38,862 serodiscordant couples in China who were added to the national epidemiology and treatment databases between 2003–2011.
The researchers observed a 26% relative reduction in the treated cohort, with rates of HIV infection of 2.6 per 100 person-years for the 14,805 couples not receiving treatment and 1.3 per 100 person-years among the 24,057 couples in the treated cohort. Across almost all demographics subgroups, reductions were seen in transmission, and these were significant in the first year (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.64). Among couples where the HIV-positive partner had been infected by blood or plasma-transfusion (aHR, 0.76) or by heterosexual intercourse (aHR, 0.69), the risk of transmission was significantly reduced in the treated cohort, but this was not so among couples where the index partner was infected by injection drug use (aHR, 0.98).
“Our results strongly support the population-wide, real-world feasibility of treating HIV-positive individuals in serodiscordant couples to prevent HIV transmission in a developing country setting, as has already been shown to be effective in a randomized clinical trial,” the authors write.