August 5, 2008
A panel of the International AIDS Society-USA in the Aug. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association issued new recommendations for when doctors should begin antiretroviral treatment for patients with HIV, AFP/Google.com reports. The recommendations also were presented Sunday at the opening of the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City (AFP/Google.com, 8/3).
Under previous recommendations, doctors delayed antiretroviral treatment until CD4+ T cells were nearly depleted and the body could no longer fight off infection from other illnesses because physicians wanted to keep the virus from developing resistance to treatment (Lauerman/Pettypiece, Bloomberg, 8/3). Usually doctors would begin treatment when CD4+ T cell counts reached fewer than 200 to 250 cells per milliliter of blood. Those recommendations were issued 12 years ago, when antiretrovirals were first introduced, treatment failure was common and there were few available treatments (AFP/Google.com, 8/3).
IAS-USA said those recommendations should be overhauled because there are now a greater number of more effective, less toxic drugs. The authors, led by Scott Hammer, an AIDS researcher at Columbia University, wrote, "The substantial toxicity and inconvenience of early regimens dampened enthusiasm for starting therapy at higher CD4 counts." They added, "However, newer regimens are potent, durable and less toxic."
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2008 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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