MGH Hotline 4.2.10
Early initiation of lifesaving antiretroviral therapies should be the standard of care for all HIV-infected patients, even those in countries with limited medical and financial resources, according to a study led by researchers at MGH and the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Implementing universal HIV testing and immediate antiretroviral treatment for infected individuals could have a major impact on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Washington, DC but not halt the epidemic, which a previous report had projected.
Replacing the combination of brand-name, antiretroviral drugs currently recommended for control of HIV infection with soon-to-be-available generic medications could save the U.S. health care system almost $1 billion a year but may diminish the effectiveness of HIV treatment.
"Treatment as prevention" – early initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV-infected individuals with uninfected sexual partners to prevent viral transmission – appears to make economic sense, along with meeting its clinical goals of helping infected patients stay healthy and reducing transmission.
Antiretroviral therapy for the treatment of HIV infection has saved 2.8 million years of life in South Africa since 2004 and is projected to save an additional 15.1 million years of life by 2030, according to a new study published online in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.