The mass prescription of anti-retroviral drugs means that the global AIDS epidemic could be controlled and the disease eradicated within the next 40 years, according to predictions. “An aggressive programme of prescribing anti-retroviral treatment (ART) to every person infected with HIV could stop all new infections in five years and eventually wipe out the epidemic, said Brian Williams of the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis. Dr Williams is part of a growing body of experts who believe that anti-HIV drugs are probably the best hope of preventing and even eliminating the spread of AIDS, rather than waiting for the development of an effective vaccine or relying solely on people changing their sexual lifestyle. The idea will be tested in the coming year, with the start of the first properly controlled clinical trial involving thousands of people living in a part of South Africa with a high incidence of HIV and AIDS. Dr Williams said this will be followed by similar trials in the US, where HIV is rampant among some inner-city communities.”