International group urges prompt HIV treatment for all

An international group of scientists on Sunday called for all adults who test positive for HIV to be treated with antiretroviral drugs right away rather than waiting for their immune systems to weaken.

The recommendations by the International Antiviral Society are the first by a global group to make such a call, and were released at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington, the world's largest meeting on HIV/AIDS.

Other major groups, such as the , currently urge treatment after the disease progresses to a certain point, or when the body's T-cells, or CD4 count, reaches or falls below the level of 350 cells/mm3.

"These guidelines are aspirational," said Melanie Thompson, a doctor with the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta, urging increased testing and better care of those who test positive for HIV.

The guidelines are based on new trial data and that have become available in the last two years which warrant an "update to guidelines for antiretroviral treatment in HIV-infected adults in resource-rich settings."

Some 34 million people in the world are living with HIV, according to the latest UNAIDS report issued last week. However, about one in five people are not aware of their status and are most at risk of .

Some eight million people in low and are now on antiretroviral treatment, making up about half of those in the world who need it, the UNAIDS report said.

"Unfortunately most people in the world are not going to benefit from our ," Thompson said, noting that most people seek care too late, by the time they already have full-blown AIDS.

Asked by a reporter if the guidelines were realistic in the current global cash-crunch environment, Thompson replied: "I actually reject the idea that there is not enough money for care and for drugs for antiretroviral therapy.

"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 said.

"The science should drive the allocation of resources and guidelines can play an important role in that respect."

The full guidelines are published in Sunday's theme issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, which focuses on HIV/AIDS.

Related Stories

Facts about HIV/AIDS worldwide in 2011

date Jul 18, 2012

Here are some key facts and figures on HIV/AIDS in 2011, released by UNAIDS on Wednesday ahead of the International AIDS Conference set to take place in Washington on July 22-27.

Malawi adopts UN guidelines on AIDS

date Sep 29, 2010

(AP) -- Malawi's vice president says her AIDS-ravaged southern African country will adopt the latest U.N. health guidelines that call for putting HIV-positive people on drugs sooner.

Many Americans with HIV go untreated: study

date Nov 29, 2011

Nearly three quarters of the 1.2 million Americans with HIV do not have their infection under control, raising the risk of death from AIDS and transmission to others, said a US study on Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Indiana HIV outbreak, hepatitis C epidemic sparks US alert

date Apr 24, 2015

Federal health officials helping to contain an HIV outbreak in Indiana state issued an alert to health departments across the U.S. on Friday, urging them to take steps to identify and track HIV and hepatitis C cases in an ...

Why are HIV survival rates lower in the Deep South than the rest of the US?

date Apr 22, 2015

The Deep South region has become the epicenter of the US HIV epidemic. Despite having only 28% of the total US population, nine states in the Deep South account for nearly 40% of national HIV diagnoses. This region has the highest HIV diagnosis rates and the highest number of people living with HIV of any ...

A bad buzz: Men with HIV need fewer drinks to feel effects

date Apr 20, 2015

Researchers at Yale and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System compared the number of drinks that men with HIV infection, versus those without it, needed to get a buzz. They found that HIV-infected men were more sensitive to ...

Research informs HIV treatment policy for inmates

date Apr 16, 2015

A national, five-year study of care for inmates with HIV brought strangers together, produced policy change in the Delaware Department of Corrections and documented the importance of good communication and ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.