Antiretrovirals to prevent HIV infection: Pre-and postexposure prophylaxis
- First Online:
More than 3 million people are now receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) worldwide. Currently, the indications for ART depend primarily on CD4 count, blood viral burden, and clinical signs and symptoms suggesting advanced HIV disease. However, interest is increasing in ART’s preventive potential. Postexposure prophylaxis following both occupational and nonoccupational exposure to HIV is the standard-of-care in many settings. Observational and ecologic studies suggest that ART administered to HIV-infected people reduces transmission within serodiscordant couples. Pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV infection is a potentially safe and intermittent intervention for very high-risk people, and clinical trials to evaluate this preventive strategy are underway. The prevention benefits of ART may begin to affect the decision of when to start therapy and add a much-needed strategy to current HIV prevention efforts.