AIDS epidemic slowed by change in sexual habits | HT Tech

AIDS epidemic slowed by change in sexual habits

Changes in sexual behaviour helped more to slow the spread of HIV in the early 1990s than the ensuing introduction of AIDS therapy drugs, says a study.

By: PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
| Updated on: Mar 17 2005, 18:18 IST

Changes in sexual behaviour helped more to slow the spread of HIV in the early 1990s than the ensuing introduction of AIDS therapy drugs, a study published revealed.

The British study, published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was performed by University College London, Health Protection Agency and Oxford University scientists, who led a statistical analysis of the HIV-1 virus in Britain.

'Since 1990 there have been important changes in Britain's social attitudes and awareness of HIV-1 and AIDS,' wrote Dr Deenan Pillay of UCL.

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'Despite a very recent increase in high-risk behaviour among men having sex with men, a significant increase in condom use has been reported since 1990, which could explain the equilibrium reached for the number of infections.

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'Antiretroviral therapy may also have impacted on transmission rates, but our evidence does not demonstrate this,' said Pillay.

Unlike what was generally believed about the AIDS epidemic in Britain, evidence in the study was found for 'at least six larger sub-epidemics', contradicting 'assumptions that the HIV-1 epidemic is composed of smaller, independent epidemics defined by risk group.'

More than 57,000 people in Britain have been infected by HIV-1 since it was first identified in 1982.

HIV-1 is the most most common form worldwide of the AIDS virus, which falls into three groups — M, N and O, according to different genetic characteristics.

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First Published Date: 17 Mar, 18:18 IST
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