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HIV patients sicker when seeking care than in the past
Date:10/25/2007

It was hoped that as HIV treatment improved and as HIV-related public health initiatives encouraged people to be tested for the disease and seek care, that HIV-infected patients would seek care quickly. Unfortunately, a new study indicates that patients are actually sicker when they begin therapy. The study is published in the November 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, currently available online.

The study, carried out in Baltimore, MD, from 1990 through 2006, shows that HIV patients beginning HIV therapy have trended toward increasing levels of immunocompromise. This is probably an indicator that people are getting tested for HIV later after theyve contracted the disease than in the past. Also, people in several key demographic groups are not any quicker now to seek care than they were in the past and some are even taking longer.

HIV is a disease that is most effectively treated if caught early in the course of the illness. Early treatment also helps to limit the spread of the virus from one person to another. For these reasons, HIV services in the United States have evolved over time to encourage people to be tested for HIV and seek treatment if infected.

The researchers, Jeanne Keruly, MS and Richard Moore, MD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, analyzed data from over 3,300 patients seeking HIV care from the Johns Hopkins HIV service. The data were examined both as a whole and as demographic subsets including gender, race, injecting drug use, men who have sex with men, and heterosexuals. They looked at the amount of time between a patients diagnosis of HIV and the time when that person first sought care; and they looked at the patients immune status at the time of first care. Ideally, they would have found trends that showed a decrease in the time between diagnosis and treatment and an increase in the immune status.

During the years analyzed, menand in particular white men and men who ha
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Contact: Steve Baragona
sbaragona@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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