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Don't Snooze, Don't Lose

Don't Snooze, Don't Lose


HIVers should start drug treatment sooner than current guidelines recommend, according to a large new study that could change the care for many Americans. The study found that HIVers who delayed treatment until CD4 counts dropped below 350, which is the threshold in current U.S. treatment guidelines, had nearly double the risk of dying in the next few years compared to patients who started treatment earlier. Doctors had believed it would be better to spare patients the side effects of anti-HIV drugs by delaying their use for as long as possible. But not anymore. 'The data are rather compelling that the risk of death appears to be higher if you wait than if you treat,' says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. If the results prompt doctors to change practice'as Fauci and other AIDS specialists predict'several hundred thousand Americans who are not taking antiretrovirals now would be advised to start.

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