HIV/AIDS Prevention and Adherence
Prevention of HIV remains an elusive goal for programs around the world. Clearly, a successful vaccine or "killer" drugs would hasten the day when the world is free of this horrendous disease. AMPATH is discovering new paths to prevention that hold promise while waiting for research breakthroughs so desperately needed. In Kenya, prevention focuses on two major populations: new born infants and sexually active adults.
In the absence of treatment, an HIV-infected pregnant woman can pass the virus to her infant up to 45% of the time. AMPATH has managed to drop the transmission of HIV from mother to infant to ~3%---the lowest in Kenya. AMPATH is on the threshold of practically preventing mother to child transmission within its catchment.
Preventing HIV transmission among sexually active adults represents a complex challenge. Every approach to prevention has its advocates and a track record of failure. AMPATH now feels that it is on a path capable of drastically decreasing transmission between adults. Simply put, this strategy involves finding every patient, linking those positive to care, treating aggressively every patient and then retaining that patient in care. The secret to prevention is realizing that those on treatment are rendered (almost) incapable of passing the virus to others. This combination of find, link, treat and retain holds the promise of reducing transmission up to 75%.
AMPATH's prevention strategies hold the promise of bringing this pandemic to its knees. Realizing prevention and treatment are two sides of the same coin have AMPATH acutely focused on its responsibilities in the months just ahead.