NIH-Funded Trial Could Have a Global Impact on Antiretroviral Treatment

A randomized clinical trial conducted across at 215 sites in 35 countries has established that earlier antiretroviral treatment benefits all HIV-infected individuals.

The Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment (START) study, was initiated in 2011 by funding provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. Operated by the International Network for Strategic Initiatives in Global HIV Trials, START was conducted among 4685 treatment-naïve HIV-infected men and women across 215 sites in 35 countries. The study has found that these infected individuals have a considerably lower risk of developing AIDS or other serious illnesses if the antiretroviral treatment is started sooner, when their CD4+ T-cell count is higher.

“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,” said NIAID director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, in a statment. “Moreover, early therapy conveys a double benefit, not only improving the health of individuals but at the same time, by lowering their viral load, reducing the risk they will transmit HIV to others. These findings have global implications for the treatment of HIV.”

Read the complete press release by NIAID: http://1.usa.gov/1Fb58lT