Opinion has long been divided over when to start treatment for HIV. Now there is no doubt: the START study findings released in 2015 provide clear, unequivocal evidence of the value of starting treatment as soon as possible — ideally, upon diagnosis.
Starting treament early significantly lowers the risk of illness and death, regardless of age, gender or CD4 count.
Starting treatment immediately is not only beneficial for individual health, but it also greatly reduces the risk of onward transmission to sexual partners.
The sooner a person is on treatment — normally, a once-a-day single pill — the sooner they’ll reach an undetectable viral load (the viral load essentially is the amount of HIV in the body). With an undetectable viral load the chance of onward transmission is virtually nil.