Researchers from the Kirby Institute and the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA) have released results from the first study in Australia to collect information on HIV positive patients who are not eligible for Medicare. Results of The Australian HIV Observational Database Temporary Residents Access Study (ATRAS) were released at the Australasian HIV/AIDS Conference 2013 in Darwin.
The study provided antiretroviral treatment to 180 HIV-positive people who are temporary residents in Australia and therefore not eligible for Medicare.
- There was a significant improvement in the clinical status of ATRAS patients within six months of commencing effective ART.
- The immunological and virological improvements highlight the importance of supplying ART to this population in need.
- The increase in the proportion with undetectable HIV viral load as early as six months demonstrates a potentially significant impact on the risk of onward HIV transmission.
- Among these temporary residents, a large proportion of patients will eventually become eligible for Medicare or leave the country.