People with HIV should be put on antiretroviral drugs as soon as they learn they are infected, federal health officials said Wednesday as they announced that they were halting the largest ever clinical trial of early HIV treatment because its benefits were already so clear.
The study was stopped more than a year early because preliminary data already showed that those who got treatment immediately were 53 percent less likely to die during the trial or develop AIDS or a serious illness than those who waited.
The study is strong evidence that early treatment saves more lives, the officials said. Fewer than 14 million of the estimated 35 million people infected with HIV around the world are on treatment now, according to U.N.AIDS, the United Nations AIDS-fighting agency. In the United States, only about 450,000 of the estimated 1.2 million with HIV are on treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This is another incentive to seek out testing and start therapy early, because you will benefit,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, which sponsored the trial. “The sooner, the better.”
HIV affects people of all ages, from children born to mothers with HIV, to adolescents, to adults, and elders. Unlike other viruses, the body cannot remove HIV completely. Once a person has HIV, it is there for life. The quality – and quantity – of that life will depend on adherence with treatment. People who live with HIV can live almost normal lifespans and have little risk of transmitting the disease if they use antiretroviral therapy appropriately under medical care. However, only 30% of HIV-infected people follow their antiretroviral regimen well enough to achieve viral suppression.
HIV/AIDS: Adherence Issues is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course for healthcare professionals that discusses adherence issues in populations at high risk for HIV infection, as well as strategies for healthcare professionals to encourage patients to seek and maintain medical treatment. Course #10-88 | 2015 | 17 pages | 10 posttest questions
HIV/AIDS: Therapy & Adherence is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course for healthcare professionals that also discusses adherence issues in populations at high risk for HIV infection and provides strategies for healthcare professionals to encourage people with HIV to seek and maintain medical treatment. This course is extended to include comorbidities with HIV; illicit drug use; medications; crime, punishment and treatment; pregnancy and HIV; sex workers and HIV; older adults and HIV; legal issues; and access to healthcare. Course #30-78 | 2015 | 43 pages | 22 posttest questions
These online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. You can print the test (download test from My Courses tab of your account after purchasing) to mark your answers on it while reading the course document. Then submit online when ready to receive credit.
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