Survival Rates Among HIV-Positive People Who Receive Lab Tests Similar to People Who Do Not Receive Tests, Study Finds
April 28, 2008
Survival rates among HIV-positive people who undergo routine viral load and CD4+ T cell counts were nearly the same as those who do not receive the tests, according to a study published on Friday in the journal Lancet, the CP/Google.com reports (CP/Google.com, 4/24). In some wealthy countries, HIV-positive people undergo routine laboratory screening -- which can cost about $20 to $60 -- about every six months. In many developing countries, HIV-positive people usually are monitored by a physician or nurse for clinical signs of disease progression (Cheng, Associated Press, 4/24).
Phillips said, "Laboratory monitoring shouldn't be the priority while we've got less than half of people who need treatment still waiting for it" (Associated Press, 4/24). "Waiting for the perfect lab infrastructure to be ready before rolling out antiretroviral therapy means that millions of people will die," Jennifer Kates, vice president and director of HIV policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation, said, adding, "This study says we shouldn't wait" (CP/Google.com, 4/24). Gilks said that the tests "obviously do help, but if you don't have tests available, the priority remains to get drugs there in the first instance." He added that antiretrovirals are the "most important thing because without them, people die, it is as simple as that" (Reuters, 4/24).
According to the Associated Press, although the study results still have to be verified, they could affect how HIV-positive people "across Africa and Asia are treated." The original computer model was developed by Phillips with funding from Pfizer (Associated Press, 4/24).
The study is available online.
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.