Good evidence for beginning treatment early . . . really early

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Post by Adrian Ogier07 Mar 2013

A study has found that people who start antiretroviral therapy (ART) within the first four months of seroconverting have a far better CD4 T-cell recovery rate than those who don’t.

The study, co-authored by Monash University’s Associate Professor Edwina Wright, followed 468 PLHIV for four years.

"In the four months after HIV infection, the immune system mounts an immune response and starts to recover naturally before it subsequently progressively declines," Associate Professor Wright says.

"This observation tells us that there may be a narrow restorative window that could be targeted for recovery through earlier initiation of potent antiretroviral therapy."

Early treatment may also better position PLHIV to directly fight off infections, tumours and disease and also put them in good stead for future cure strategies, investigators believe.

New US treatment guidelines released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in February 2013 strongly support ART being offered to those with early HIV infection.

Knowing what we now do about the harm in interrupting ART, people who start treatment early are encouraged to stay on their therapy for the long term.