The 8th international AIDS Society Conference (IAS 2015) in Vancouver, Canada is taking place and among the numerous interesting discussions and presentations, one presentation in particular was of great importance to everyone living with HIV and those who’ve been recently diagnosed and are asymptomatic.
The evidence from the START study clearly shows that initiating treatment for HIV early can prevent suffering, death and improves health. This is of particular importance for many recently diagnosed who may decide to wait to initiate treatment for HIV and also highlights the importance of why treatment should be available to everyone, everywhere.
The following publication from The New England Journal of Medicine describes the study in detail but the conclusions are clear. Treatment for HIV should be made available for everyone, everywhere and now as it will avoid unnecessary death and suffering and is a fundamental human right; as quoted by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe.
“HIV treatment for everyone, everywhere, right now is a fundamental human right.” UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe
The initiation of antiretroviral therapy in HIV-positive adults with a CD4+ count of more than 500 cells per cubic millimeter provided net benefits over starting such therapy in patients after the CD4+ count had declined to 350 cells per cubic millimeter. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and others; START ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00867048.)”
New treatments options should be arriving soon which may include injections given over a period of a few weeks or a few months, a possible functional cure and more.
So do your part today. Get tested and if you test positive, get into treatment immediately even if you feel well. This will increase your chance for a long, healthy life living with HIV. Also remember that staying on treatment and having an undetectable viral load dramatically reduces the chances of passing the virus to others. Including other precautions to avoid transmission of HIV while being undetectable reduces these chances even further.
Make sure to check out my page on HIV/AIDS where you will find valuable information about where to get tested for free and where to receive services and support.