Sexual Health news - HIV

Early treatment of HIV may improve long-term care


One of the reasons why it's recommended that sexually active individuals receive a sexually transmitted disease (STD) test on a regular basis is because many infections are more easily and effectively treated when caught early. A new study from researchers at the Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam has revealed that this may be true even for difficult-to-treat HIV.

The scientists discovered that early treatment with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) results in a delayed start of long-term HIV treatment. This is important because once a person begins this stringent regimen there is often no going back without experiencing a worsened condition.

Authors of the study observed three subsets of patients with primary HIV infection: one which was given no treatment, one that received 24 weeks of cART and a third which was administered cART for 60 weeks.

The researchers reported that individuals who received cART tended to have a lower viral load than those who were not treated. Additionally, people in the control group began long-term therapy an average of 0.7 years after the randomization, while individuals in the 24-week and 60-week subsets began treatment three and 1.8 years following their cART therapy.

"Although extended follow-up studies are needed to evaluate the long-term benefits of such early treatment, starting cART when the patient is ready to do so seems the most reasonable advice for patients with [primary HIV Infection]," wrote the study authors in the journal PLoS Medicine.

Results of this study underscore the importance of regular STD testing. Additionally, proper and consistent condom use has been shown to significantly reduce a person's chances of becoming infected with STDs, such as HIV.