New evidence has encouraged the International Antiviral Society-USA to suggest that all HIV patients be treated with antiretroviral medication, regardless of the virus’s level of impact on the immune system. According to current research, the immunodeficiency virus can cause numerous conditions besides AIDS, including kidney and cardiovascular diseases. Another indication is that the HIV treatment reduces the level of contagion in an infected person.
“We are no longer only focused on traditional AIDS-defining infections. We know that HIV is doing damage to the body all the time when it is not controlled,” said Antiviral Society panel member Dr. Melanie Thompson of the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta.
Thompson went on to explain that the advice is global, but should have the most impact in ‘resource-rich’ countries because of their access to the drugs.
Reuters explained that “the guidelines were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association at the start of the International AIDS Society’s 2012 conference, which runs from Sunday through Friday in Washington, D.C.
In addition to studies showing that treatment with antiretroviral drugs reduces the risk of transmission, trials have shown a protective effect when the drugs are used by at-risk people who are not already infected with the virus.”
Dr. Paul Volberding, another member of the panel and director of the Center for AIDS Research at the University of California, said:
“The drugs are convenient, have very little side effects and their benefits are becoming clearer and clearer- both for the infected person and from a public health standpoint.”