San Francisco's policy of recommending HIV treatment to all infected patients upon diagnosis, without waiting for CD4 cell counts to fall, could cut the number of new infections among men who have sex with men by 59 percent in five years, a new study suggests. In addition, combining early treatment with annual testing for all MSM would reduce new infections among them by 76 percent.
When to initiate antiretroviral therapy has long been debated. Early HIV medications carried the risk of such severe side effects that public health officials recommended patients not begin treatment until they were symptomatic. The drugs have since improved, and studies have shown more favorable outcomes under earlier ART initiation. Last year, San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) recommended treatment for all HIV patients as soon as they are diagnosed.
"There's a growing recognition that the virus is more toxic than the meds," said study co-author Dr. Moupali Das, DPH's HIV prevention research director. "The meds are not without side effects, but they're so much improved." DPH developed the study's mathematical model with the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF).
Complete article at The Body : http://bit.ly/dXwQYZ