NIH researchers create HIV prevention and treatment guidelines
The timing for beginning antiretroviral therapy (ART), which is a treatment for HIV, has been part of health debates for a long time. Some say the treatment has risks that do not make up for the benefits.
With three large trials as evidence, this problem is being solved by NIH scientists. The studies show that there are significant benefits when patients start ART treatments as early as possible. These benefits may be worth any potential risk to the patients’ health.
The three studies include the SMART study in 2006, the HPTN 052 study in 2011, and the START study conducted this year. Together, they provide evidence supporting the use of ART even when HIV has been detected early.
Starting the treatments early could prevent the virus from transmitting from the infected patient to his or her sexual partners who do not have the infection. For these benefits, ART must begin as soon as HIV has been detected in the patient.