21 July 2015

Definitive scientific evidence to support earlier initiation of HIV treatment


Final results from two landmark studies bolstered the scientific case for initiating HIV treatment soon after diagnosis, and an additional study shed new light on the non-daily use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among diverse populations at high risk for HIV. The research was presented Monday in an official press briefing at the 8th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2015) in Vancouver.

“IAS 2015 will be remembered as the definitive moment when the world agreed earlier initiation of treatment is the best way to preserve the health of people living with HIV, and one of the best tools we have to slow HIV transmission to others,” said Julio Montaner, IAS 2015 Local CoChair and Director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

“The new data presented today will inform HIV treatment guidelines worldwide, and inspire governments, funders and health systems to act to save millions more lives.” Research and other highlights from today’s briefing include: Final data from the START study demonstrate the multiple benefits of early HIV treatment: For the first time, Jens Lundgren of the University of Copenhagen presented full results of the Strategic Timing of Antiretroviral Treatment (START) study, which was halted in May 2015 after preliminary data showed significant health benefits of earlier initiation of HIV treatment, regardless of the state of an individual’s immune health.

START is the first largescale randomized clinical trial to establish that all individuals with HIV have a considerably lower risk of developing AIDS or other serious illnesses when they begin treatment right away after diagnosis. The final results released on Monday have important implications for the way HIV antiretroviral therapy is used worldwide. 


Professor Jens Lundgren
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