HPTN 052 is the name of a clinical trial which examined the extent to which antiretroviral therapy (ART) can, when taken by people who have HIV, decrease their infectivity and thereby reduce the chance that they will pass HIV on to their heterosexual partners. The results of the study were so compelling that the study's Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) asked the research team to share the results with all study participants and offer ART to the control group before the study ended. The study continues to determine if the results - that ART can reduce the transmission of HIV by 96% - have durability. The trial was organized by the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN).
This study was groundbreaking for providing compelling evidence that treating persons with HIV actually reduces HIV infection rates in communities. Now that this information was available, it created debates about ethical obligations which communities might have when making decisions about providing HIV treatment.
In December 2011, Science named the study as "Breakthrough of the Year".
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