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Do Gay Men Set the Standard?

Do Gay Men Set the Standard?

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Because many gay men who are HIV-positive begin antiretroviral therapy earlier than people in other risk groups, their vigilance probably results in a better immune response to treatment, researchers report in the November edition of HIV Medicine. Hoping to determine if risk group or a person's sex had an effect on the decision of when to start therapy and a patient's response to treatment, the researchers studied a cohort of over 5,000 patients from 62 hospitals across France. After the two-year mark they found that gay men had begun therapy in higher proportion than any other group: 38% versus 33% for heterosexuals and 31% for injection drug users. As a result, the researchers conclude, gay men more quickly reached the success benchmark of a minimum 100 CD4-cell increase than all other groups studied. In support of treatment guidelines recommended by some of the world's leading HIV physicians and researchers that treatment should be started while a patient's CD4-cell count is above 350, the French researchers point out that in their study more than half of the gay men initiated therapy while their CD4 count was above 350, while only 36% of heterosexuals in the cohort and 34% of the injection-drug users did so.

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