Imagine that 90 percent of all people living with HIV were diagnosed and treated with drugs. Would that be sufficient to end the AIDS epidemic?
Scientists tried to answer the question in three enormous studies published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Instead of simply urging people to get testing and treatment for HIV, health workers in five African countries went door to door, or set up mobile sites, offering tests for HIV, tuberculosis and other diseases to everyone in certain communities.
The largest of the three studies, PopART, looked at 21 communities in Zambia and South Africa.
“The scale and scope of these studies is remarkable,” said Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, an HIV expert at Columbia University in New York and leader of a group that helped fund PopART. “This is public health research at its best.”