HIV treatment use increases in the US

Between 2000 and 2008, the proportion of HIV-infected patients in the U.S. receiving effective treatment known as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) increased, and HIV-infected patients appeared to be less infectious and have healthier immune systems at death, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study was nested in the NA-ACCORD (North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design), which is the largest cohort of HIV-infected adults in North America. The findings are published in the September 4 edition of Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study included more than 45,000 HIV-infected participants receiving clinical care for HIV. The study population was demographically similar to the U.S. population living with HIV, according to national from the . Over the study period, the researchers found that the proportion of HIV-infected participants prescribed HAART increased 9 percentage points to 83 percent. During this time, the researchers also observed an increase in viral load suppression among those with HIV, regardless of treatment. Suppression of viral load reduces the likelihood of to others. Among those taking HAART, the proportion with a suppressed viral load increased from 54 percent to 81 percent.

"This is good news for the in the U.S., but there is room for improvement," said Keri N. Althoff, PhD, MPH, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Epidemiology. "We need to continue to focus on linking HIV-infected adults into care and effective treatment, not only for the individual's health, but to reduce the likelihood of transmission to others."

The analysis also found an increase in median CD4 count for participants who died from HIV during the study period. Median counts increased at the time of death from 60 cells/mm3 to 209 cells/mm3. A higher CD4 count suggests a healthier immune system. Additional research is planned to investigate trends in the causes of death.

"Our study demonstrates the data from the NA-ACCORD can be used to monitor important health indicators among adults with HIV, which is needed to evaluate the impact of the Affordable Care Act and to measure progress towards the National HIV Strategy goals," said Althoff.

More information: U.S. Trends in Antiretroviral Therapy Use, HIV RNA Plasma Viral Loads, and CD4 T-Lymphocyte Cell Counts among HIV-infected Persons, 2000 to 2008, Annals of Internal Medicine, 2012.

Related Stories

Many with HIV start care too late

date May 28, 2010

Despite growing evidence that the earlier people are diagnosed with HIV and get access to care, the better their clinical outcomes, many HIV-infected people in the United States and Canada are not receiving the care they ...

Revaccination could benefit HIV-infected children

date Sep 01, 2010

HIV-infected children receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) may require revaccination to maintain immunity against preventable diseases. There remains no standard or official recommendation on revaccination ...

Recommended for you

Indiana HIV outbreak, hepatitis C epidemic sparks US alert

date 13 hours ago

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.