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International HIV/AIDS trial finds continuous antiretroviral therapy superior to episodic therapy

afaa El-Sadr, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., of the Harlem Hospital Center and Columbia University in New York City, one of the principal investigators for the trial. "We were surprised to learn that in the short term, episodic antiretroviral therapy carries such an increased risk without evidence of sparing patients the known side effects associated with ART."

The University of Minnesota's James Neaton, Ph.D., another principal investigator and chief biostatistician for the trial, notes, "The SMART trial reached a conclusion much earlier than we expected. That is the significant value and potential power of conducting such a large trial."

The SMART study was coordinated by four international centers: the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit in London; the Copenhagen HIV Program in Denmark; the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia; and the Terry Beirn Community Programs for Clinical Research on AIDS (CPCRA) in Washington, DC. The statistical and data management center was based at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Fred Gordin, M.D., of the VA Medical Center in Washington, DC, the CPCRA director, says, "It is gratifying when the fruits of such hard work by so many individuals and the faith put in the investigators by the volunteers results in important data concerning the use of ART."

David Cooper, M.D., D.Sc., of the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the University of New South Wales, the Sydney international coordinating center director, notes, "SMART is an example of how a large group of investigators around the world can work together to obtain an answer to an important HIV treatment question."

Further information concerning the study findings can be found in a Questions and Answers document below. An earlier NIAID news release describing the initiation of the SMART trial can be viewed at

Source:NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases


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