Early Treatment Is Needed to Commence Earlier to Treat HIV, Study Confirms
A major international study has provided the most robust scientific evidence yet of the health benefits of immediate HIV treatment for HIV positive people, according to a new study released on Wednesday.
The trial was stopped more than a year early because those who were immediately treated with drugs saw their chance of dying or suffering an "AIDS-related event" drop by 53 percent.
The findings are preliminary, but the the US National Institutes of Health found them so compelling that it stopped the study a year early, so that all the participants could receive medication as researchers continue to track their health.
"It's just more scientific evidence to back what we've been saying for a time now," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which paid for the bulk of the study.
"We now have clear-cut proof that it is of significantly greater health benefit to an HIV-infected person to start antiretroviral therapy sooner rather than later," Fauci said.
"These findings have global implications for the treatment of HIV."
The Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment (START) study involves 4,685 HIV-infected men and women in 35 countries who had HIV but who had never been treated for it.
"The START study has been terminated one year ahead of schedule after interim results provided conclusive evidence that immediate treatment of HIV is clinically superior compared with deferred treatment among people with HIV infection and early disease," says the Kirby Institute in a statement today.
All study participants will be informed of these results and offered treatment if they are not already taking it.