International Group Urges Prompt HIV Treatment for All
The International Antiviral Society (IAV) released new guidelines for AIDS treatment on Sunday, calling for all adults to begin antiretroviral treatment as soon as they test positive, rather than waiting for their immune systems to weaken.
The IAV recommendations for prompt treatment are the first by a global group; they were released at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington. Currently the World Health Organization and other groups urge treatment after the CD4 count reaches or falls below the level of 350 cells/mm3.
The IAV guidelines are based on new clinical trial data and drug regimens, which warrant an “update to guidelines for antiretroviral treatment in HIV-infected adults in resource-rich settings.”
“These guidelines are aspirational,” said Dr. Melanie Thompson, with the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta, a group advocating for increased testing and better care of those with HIV/AIDS. Thompson noted that most people seek care too late, when they already have progressed to AIDS. “Unfortunately most people in the world are not going to benefit from our guideline recommendations,” she said.
Asked about current global funding issues for care and treatment, Thompson responded, “I think it is a matter of political will. I think it is a matter of prioritizing and recognizing that treatment of HIV is cost-effective. It may be cost-saving as well.” She added, “The science should drive the allocation of resources, and guidelines can play an important role in that respect.”
[PNU editor’s note: “Antiretroviral Treatment of Adult HIV Infection - 2012 Recommendations of the International Antiviral Society - USA Panel” was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2012;308(4):387-402). To access the full recommendations, visit http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1221704#.]
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