Early antiretroviral therapy benefits all HIV-infected individuals

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Starting antiretroviral therapy early not only prevents serious AIDS-related diseases, but also prevents the onset of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other non-AIDS-related diseases in HIV-infected people.

A new analysis of data from the Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment (START) study, the first large-scale randomized clinical trial establishes that earlier antiretroviral treatment benefits all HIV-infected individuals.

Rates of both serious AIDS-related events and serious non-AIDS-related events were significantly reduced with early therapy.

In May 2015, the START trial investigators released their initial groundbreaking findings that starting antiretroviral therapy early when immune systems are healthier, without waiting for CD4+ cell counts to decline, prevented the composite of serious AIDS events (such as AIDS-related cancers), serious non-AIDS-related events and death among HIV-infected individuals.

Today’s findings, which draw on more than two months of additional data since that announcement, show that starting treatment early significantly reduces the risk of both major components of this combined outcome: serious AIDS events and serious non-AIDS events.

Non-AIDS-related events tracked by the study included cardiovascular disease, end-stage renal disease, liver disease, non-AIDS defining cancer or causes of death not attributable to AIDS.

Serious AIDS events were reduced by 72 percent and serious non-AIDS events were reduced by 39 percent.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, provided primary funding for the START trial.

New results appear today in the New England Journal of Medicine and are being presented at the 8th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Vancouver, Canada.

Source: National Institutes of Health, USA

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