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U.S. News

AIDS Group Issues HIV Treatment Guidelines for Katrina Evacuees

September 15, 2005

The American Academy of HIV Medicine's "Recommendations for the Triage of HIV+ Patients" target physicians in areas with large numbers of Hurricane Katrina evacuees who may have had little experience treating HIV patients. The document recommends the following steps:

  • Treating active opportunistic infections or other infections with antibiotics or other appropriate medication is first priority.
  • Try to determine the patient's CD4-cell count. Varying CD-4 counts put patients at risk of opportunistic infections for which they should be screened, such as HIV-related pneumonia for those with counts below 200; histoplasmosis, toxoplasmosis, and cryptococcal meningitis for those with counts below 100; and mycobacterium avium complex and systemic fungal disease for those with counts below 50.
  • While both prophylactic and antiretroviral treatment courses should be continued if possible, doctors should place a priority on the administration of anti-HIV drugs to avoid treatment interruption.
  • If patients cannot access all their antiretrovirals, every drug should be stopped, rather than continuing only one or two.
  • Tetanus shots should be administered to HIV patients.
  • While live-virus vaccines should be used with caution in HIV patients, they should be safe for patients with CD-4 counts above 350.

The guidelines include information on which drug combinations to use and which to avoid; treating pregnant women; HIV post-exposure prophylaxis; and rapid HIV testing.

More information, including help accessing HIV specialists and clinics, is available at Also visit

Back to other news for September 15, 2005

Adapted from:
The Advocate

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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