18 January 2013
People who are diagnosed with HIV could benefit from being prescribed antiretroviral drugs in the early stages of the infection, according to a major new study.
The collaborative project between the Imperial College London, the Medical Research Council's Clinical Trials Unit, and the University of Oxford, found that such a swift response has a positive response.
It was noted that a rapid response to the treatment of the infection slows down the damage that the infection does to a person's immune system, while also postponing the need for long-term treatment.
"These results are promising and suggest that a year-long course of treatment for people recently infected with HIV may have some benefit on the immune system, as well as helping control the virus," commented Dr Sarah Fidler, lead author of the study that appeared New England Journal of Medicine.
"The treatment also reduces the amount of virus in the body for some time after the patient has stopped taking the medication. This could be very important for helping reduce the risk of passing on the virus to a sexual partner."
According to the NHS, most people (80 per cent) who are infected with HIV will experience a brief flu-like illness some six weeks after being exposed to the virus.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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