Navigation Links
Early HIV Drug Therapy Protects Sex Partners From Virus
Date:5/13/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- People with HIV can reduce the risk of infecting their sex partners by more than 90 percent if they start treatment with antiretroviral drugs when their immune system is still relatively healthy, researchers announced Thursday.

The study, which included 1,763 mostly heterosexual couples from nine countries, was supposed to last until 2015, but the results were released early because of the significance of the findings. The research confirmed a belief held by many scientists and physicians -- that starting drug therapy early can help to limit rates of transmission of the virus that causes AIDS.

"We set out to prove that if you took earlier therapy you could benefit your own health and you could prevent the transmission of HIV," said lead researcher Dr. Myron Cohen, director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"Both of those hypotheses were realized," he said.

The study, which started in 2005, randomly assigned the couples to two treatment groups: In the first group the HIV-infected individual began taking a combination of three antiretroviral drugs immediately. In the second group, the HIV-positive person delayed drug therapy until their CD4 T-cell count -- a blood test that measures immune system health -- either dropped below 250 or an AIDS-related illness (such as pneumocystis pneumonia) set in.

Both groups also received HIV care, which included counseling on safe sex, free condoms, treatment for sexually transmitted infections, regular HIV testing and evaluation, and treatment for any HIV-related complications.

The trial was conducted at 13 sites in nine countries including the United States, Botswana, Brazil, India, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand and Zimbabwe.

In looking over the preliminary findings, the data and safety monitoring board shepherding the study identified 39 new cases of HIV among the previously uninfected partners. In 28 of these cases, genetic analysis confirmed that one partner had infected the other.

Of these 28 infections, 27 -- or 96 percent -- occurred among couples in which the HIV-infected partner did not start antiretroviral therapy immediately.

Cohen cautioned that the findings don't apply to all HIV-positive people. "Our couples had big advantages," he said. "We enrolled couples who probably have a low overall transmission [HIV] rate," he said.

The researchers also made sure that the patients were taking their antiretroviral medications. And, the medications were carefully selected. "The drugs are important," Cohen said. "We didn't use any combination possible -- we used ones we thought would sterilize the genital tract," he said.

Commenting on the study, Dr. Alexis Powell, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that "it's nice to finally have evidence-based information that clearly shows that earlier treatment with antiretrovirals can benefit the individual who is HIV-positive, but also protects sexual partners who are HIV-negative."

Most doctors would like to treat HIV patients sooner, Powell said. "We clearly understand that patients benefit with earlier treatment," she said. "And this is another reason to start early."

Powell said she'd like to put HIV patients on antiretrovirals as soon as they are diagnosed, but there are barriers. They include criteria for treatment set by insurance companies and lack of funding to treat those without insurance, she said.

"When you start talking about the dollars and cents of everyday clinical practice, that's when we are really going to see what we are going to be allowed to do," Powell said.

Another barrier is convincing some HIV-positive people to take the drugs. Some are reluctant to start taking medications that they will have to take for the rest of their lives, while others are wary of side effects. Some people think the drugs make you sicker than the virus. And still others distrust the medical system to act in their best interest, Powell said.

She cautioned that the study findings do not mean that people can stop practicing safe sex. Men, especially, need to use a condom to protect themselves or their partners, Powell said.

More information

For more on HIV/AIDS, visit AIDS.gov.

SOURCES: Myron Cohen, M.D., director, Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Alexis Powell, M.D., assistant professor, infectious diseases, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; May 12, 2011, news release, U.S. National Institutes of Health


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Minnesota Department of Health Report: Nearly 6,000 Hospitalizations for COPD in 2007
2. Moms Lifestyle in Early Pregnancy Affects Babys Size
3. Early life stress may predict cardiovascular disease
4. MDS Announces Agreements to Divest MDS Pharma Services Early Stage Business
5. Alzheimers Association Applauds Social Security Administration for Adding Early-Onset Alzheimers to Its Compassionate Allowances Initiative
6. Alzheimers Foundation of America Applauds Social Security for Speeding Disability Benefits for Early-Onset Alzheimers Disease
7. JCI online early table of contents: Feb. 15, 2010
8. 29 Clear Channel stations Nationwide Raise Nearly $2.8 Million to Help Save the Lives of Kids Fighting Cancer and Other Deadly Diseases
9. Researchers find biomarkers in saliva for detection of early-stage pancreatic cancer
10. Early On, Hormone Therapy May Raise Womens Heart Risks
11. FriendsofWater.com Responds to the National Acadamy of Sciences Report that Millions of Americans Get Sick Yearly from Contaminated Water
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Early HIV Drug Therapy Protects Sex Partners From Virus 
(Date:6/26/2016)... North Carolina (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... release of a new product that was developed to enhance the health of felines. ... for centuries. , The two main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Austin, TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... Fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for ... popular and highly effective treatment for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern ... Laude and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He ... Los Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published June ... with. The article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking ... common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) learned ... receive two significant new grants to support its work to advance research and ... by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work in fighting pulmonary ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Consumers have taken ... regulators/payers have placed more emphasis on patient outcomes. ... support programs in the pharmaceutical industry have evolved ... Consequently, pharmaceutical companies are focusing on becoming more ... providing products and services that improve health. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016  Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT) (NASDAQ: ... novel therapeutics for the treatment of grievous blood-based ... closing of its previously announced underwritten public offering ... public offering price of $18.75 per share. All ... by GBT. GBT estimates net proceeds from the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Dublin ... of the " Global Markets for Spectroscopy Equipment" ... This report focuses on the global ... including its applications in various applications. The report deals ... three main industries: pharmaceutical and biotechnology, food and beverage, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: