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NIH-funded study finds early HAART during TB treatment boosts survival rate in co-infected people
Date:7/22/2010

A clinical trial in Cambodia has found it possible to prolong the survival of untreated HIV-infected adults with very weak immune systems and newly diagnosed tuberculosis (TB) by starting anti-HIV therapy two weeks after beginning TB treatment, rather than waiting eight weeks, as has been standard. This finding by scientists co-funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the French National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis, brings physicians closer to optimizing the treatment of severely immunosuppressed individuals with HIV-TB co-infection. The findings were presented today at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna by principal investigators Francois-Xavier Blanc, M.D., Anne E. Goldfeld, M.D., and Sok Thim, M.D.

"These results are just one example of how our best science can advance the treatment of an important disease, TB, that exacts a huge toll among HIV-infected individuals," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "With an estimated 1.4 million HIV-infected individuals developing TB in 2008 alone, we must continue to pursue 21st-century solutions to the scourge of HIV-TB co-infection, as well as other diseases that afflict HIV-infected people."

Individuals with HIV-TB co-infection in resource-limited countries frequently come to the attention of healthcare professionals for the first time when HIV already has severely damaged their immune systems. Such people often die during the first few months after beginning TB treatment. Clinicians agree that starting anti-HIV therapy during that short window can stave off death for some patients, but data on the best time to start have proven inconclusive and opinions have varied. The dilemma is that starting anti-HIV therapy before the TB infection is under control can cause the patient to become very sick and even die from a condition known as Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome,
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Contact: Laura Sivitz Leifman
sivitzl@niaid.nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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