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When HIV Testing Isn't Enough

When HIV Testing Isn't Enough

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Researchers are looking at a two-pronged approach when it comes to reducing the rates of HIV among women who tend to show riskier behavior.

In addition to the standard medical help like HIV testing and treatment, scientists at the Research Triangle Institute are going to help women in Pretoria, South Africa, with behavioral intervention. The organization will use its $3.9 million from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse to recruit women older than 15, who report that they have recently engaged in unprotected sex, alcohol abuse, and drug use, to participate in the program.

RTI's Wendee Wechsberg said in a statement Tuesday, that the standard medication is not enough to keep HIV rates low. "There is a need for South Africa's current approach to HIV testing and treatment to be coupled with more targeted efforts that reach segments of the population that are at great risk for HIV."

Wechsberg's Women's Health Co-Op, an HIV prevention strategy focused on women,was developed and tested for crack-using African-American women in North Carolina. After a successful run, the program was then adapted for South African women, and has been showing a reduction in substance abuse, and gender-based violence over the last decade.

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