Novel SF program tries to cut new HIV cases
Posted on February 10, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
This month, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation is launching an innovative program designed to catch new HIV infections shortly after they occur – when the risk of transmission is the highest.
The goal of the two-year pilot project, the first of its kind in the nation, is to reduce by half the number of new HIV cases by 2015.
During the two- or three-month period after infection, the viral load is highest and the danger of transmission is also at its peak. As many as half of all new infections are estimated to occur during the acute phase.
“The virus gets in your body and starts to replicate at a very high rate before the natural immune responses of your body start to mobilize,” said Mark Cloutier, chief executive of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
The expanded testing, along with counseling, will take place at Magnet, a community health center for gay men in the Castro.
Clients who report engaging in recent, high-risk behavior will be invited to take viral RNA (ribonucleic acid) testing, which will identify those who are acutely infected. They will also be encouraged to alert their partners.
It takes two weeks to get results. During that time, said Steve Gibson, director of Magnet, clients are counseled to behave prudently, as if they were HIV-positive.
See Novel SF program tries to cut new HIV cases
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