June 9, 2015 – Start Treatment


Anchor lead:  People who are HIV infected should begin treatment immediately, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Treatment for HIV infection is effective, but when to initiate therapy, which is then lifelong, has been a topic of controversy.  No more, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issuing guidelines saying that those who learn they are HIV infected should begin treatment immediately.  Joseph Cofrancesco, an HIV expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Cofrancesco: When to treat HIV has been a moving target, waiting for the CD4 count or the immune system to weaken enough to make it beneficial, versus starting earlier, and in the older days, maybe in the 90s or the 2000s, when there were more pills, more toxicities, that balance was different than it is now, but I think it’s been clear to many of us for some time that the earlier you start treatment the better. Both for the patient, and for the public health service.   :27

People who are on effective treatment are extremely unlikely to transmit the infection to others, Cofrancesco notes.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.