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Benefits of HIV drugs rise -- but less than previously believed, Penn study shows
Date:7/22/2012

PHILADELPHIA The percentage of HIV patients taking antiretroviral drugs who experienced the full benefit of the drugs jumped from 45 percent of 72 percent during the past decade, a figure that is lower than previous estimates. The findings, considered important for HIV prevention efforts, since patients whose virus is in tight control are less likely to transmit the infection to others, are published this week in JAMA by a team of researchers led by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The issue's publication coincides with AIDS 2012, the annual international AIDS conference, being held in the United States for the first in over 20 years this week in Washington, D.C.

The researchers analyzed 32,483 HIV-infected patients cared for in 12 clinics across the United States between 2001 and 2010. patients in the U.S. During that time, the percentage of patients taking antiretroviral drugs who exhibited sustained viral suppression having no detectable HIV virus in the blood every time the virus is measured -- increased from 45 percent to 72 percent. The authors point to new drugs and fixed dose combination tablets as factors in improving the efficacy and safety of antiretroviral drug regimens, as well as decreased side effects that make patients more likely to adhere to their treatment. Better access to care during this time period may also be a contributor to the improved viral suppression rates observed in the study.

Despite this increase, the number of patients with tightly controlled HIV infection was significantly less than the 77 percent to 87 percent figures reported in prior studies, which were based on one-time only measures of HIV virus in the blood, rather than considering every time the virus was measured. According to the study's lead investigator, Baligh Yehia, MD, MSHP, MPP, a fellow in the division of Infectious Diseases at Penn Medicine and HIV
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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-200-2313
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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