BY HIV Plus Editors
April 01 2009 12:00 AM ET
A long-held theory among HIV treatment experts is that a short course of antiretroviral drugs given during the first few weeks after infection--a period commonly called acute or primary infection--could provide long-term benefits, including slowing or even preventing CD4-cell loss.
That theory, however, took a significant hit in two new studies. The first, published in the journal AIDS, showed that although a short course of anti-HIV drugs begun within six months of infection did initially boost CD4 counts, it did not delay the need for standard antiretroviral therapy later on. The second research project, published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, showed that taking the meds even earlier--within three months of infection--still was ineffective in preventing eventual CD4-cell loss or slowing the rate of later cellular decline.