July 30, 2012
The Obama administration announced it would add new funds to increase access to HIV/AIDS care, but questions remain about whether it will be enough to address waiting lists for the drug assistance program. Also in the news, reports on treatment developments.
Battling AIDS by Stepping Up Retention in Care
Two stubborn problems dog efforts to stem the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States: how to find the HIV-positive people who are outside the health care system and how to keep HIV patients in treatment once they start. (Norman, Politico, 7/29)
Capsules: New Funds Could Shorten AIDS Drug Waiting Lists
The Obama administration announced nearly $80 million in grants to increase access to HIV/AIDS care across the United States last week -- but will it be enough to eliminate waiting lists for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program? (Burress, Kaiser Health News, 7/28)
Early HIV Treatment Is Cost-Effective Prevention Method
New data from a landmark clinical trial that established early treatment for HIV infection as an effective way to prevent transmission of the virus now show that this treatment-as-prevention approach is cost-effective, too. ... The trial enrolled 1763 couples, most heterosexual, at 13 sites in Africa, South America, Asia, and the United States. When enrollment began in 2005, infected partners had CD4 cell counts between 350 and 550 cells/mL. The couples were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: immediate antiretroviral treatment (ART) for the infected partner or treatment delayed until the infected partner had a CD4 cell count below 250 cells/mL or an AIDS-defining illness. Data released last year showed that early treatment led to a 96% reduction in HIV transmission to uninfected partners. (Voelker, Journal of the American Medical Association, 7/27)
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
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