An international health panel has recommended for the first time that all HIV patients be treated with antiretroviral drugs, even when the virus’s impact on their immune system is shown to be small.
The nonprofit International Antiviral Society-USA cited new evidence that untreated infection with the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS can also lead to a range of other conditions, including cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. In addition, data have shown that suppressing HIV reduces the risk of an infected person passing the virus to another person.
“We are no longer only focused on traditional AIDS-defining infections. We know that HIV is doing damage to the body all the time when it is not controlled,” said Dr. Melanie Thompson, principal investigator of the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta and a member of the Antiviral Society panel.
The recommendations are global, but mainly aimed at “resource-rich” countries who can cover the cost of the medications, she said. The guidelines were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association at the start of the International AIDS Society’s 2012 conference, which runs from Sunday through Friday in Washington, DC.
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