HIV treatment as prevention and HPTN 052

Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2012 Mar;7(2):99-105. doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e32834f5cf2.


Purpose of review: This review summarizes the development and implementation of a large clinical trial, HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) 052, whose initial results were recently presented and published.

Recent findings: A randomized, clinical trial demonstrated that antiretroviral therapy reduces the sexual transmission of HIV in HIV-serodiscordant couples by more than 96%. The logistical challenges in preparing for and conducting such a trial were considerable.

Summary: HPTN 052 required many years of preparation, considerable collaboration between National Institute of Health and six pharmaceutical companies, and careful ongoing consideration of a large number of ethical issues. HPTN 052 revealed the magnitude of benefit when using antiretroviral therapy to prevent the transmission of HIV, and served as proof of a concept. The results have proven central to the development of new global HIV-prevention efforts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • HIV Seropositivity / drug therapy*
  • HIV Seropositivity / transmission
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / standards
  • Research Design
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Sexual Partners*


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors