Since the mid-1990s, antiretroviral therapy has become the gold standard in the treatment of HIV infection. This involves the prescription of a combination of antiretroviral compounds, and is commonly referred as combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) or cocktail treatment. The effectiveness of antiretroviral treatment has been well proven. With life-long treatment, patients' health conditions improve and many resume normal life. Globally the number of HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy is approaching 20 million. By receiving treatment, the number of virus particles in the body of an infected person falls to undetectable level. From the public health perspective, the risk of virus transmission becomes significantly minimized. This phenomenon forms the basis of Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP). If each HIV infected person is aware of his/her infection status and received antiretroviral therapy promptly, HIV spread in the community will stop. To achieve HIV prevention through TasP, efforts are needed to improve awareness of one's HIV status, to expand coverage of effective treatment, and to ensure that virus suppression is attained.
On a personal level, the simplest way to contribute to TasP is to encourage HIV infected friends to receive and adhere to treatment, and to promote HIV testing. Clinical and public health research are crucial in supporting the TasP strategy.