Starting HAART Earlier Might Reduce Mortality Rates, Study Says
February 12, 2009
Earlier detection of HIV and initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy might help reduce high mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a study recently presented at the 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Montreal, Canada, Reuters reports. Martin Brinkhof of the University of Berne, who led the study, said that very high mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa have "substantially declined" since the introduction of HAART, "but what remains unclear is to what extent this reduction in mortality approaches the levels seen in the general population."
Among patients who started treatment with T cell counts of less than 25 and WHO stage III/IV disease, the excess mortality was 17.5 per 100 person-years. This compares with 1.0 per 100 person-years among those who started treatments with a T cell count of at least 200 and WHO stage I/II disease. An excess mortality of 0.29 per 100 person-years was recorded among patients who began treatment with T cell counts of 200 or greater and WHO stage I/II disease and were alive one year later. Brinkhof said that "clearly it is critical that we have to start treating earlier" because very few patients -- less than 15% -- begin treatment with higher T cell counts and less advanced stages of the disease (Reuters, 2/9).
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.