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Medical News

HIV/AIDS Drug Cocktails Saving Lives: Study

January 12, 2010

In a three-year study, the average death rate declined by half for people with HIV/AIDS receiving antiretroviral treatment.

Dr. Miguel A. Hernan, of the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues noted that while the 1996 introduction of AIDS drug cocktails has significantly improved immune function in patients, the impact of treatment on overall survival remained unclear. To determine whether combination therapy was saving lives, they examined data from 12 studies involving 62,760 U.S. and European patients new to HIV therapy who were followed for an average of 3.3 years.

A total of 2,039 patients died during follow-up. After adjusting for factors that may have influenced death rates, the team found the risk of death was 52 percent lower in those who started treatment relative to those who did not. That translated in absolute terms into a 5 percent increase in five-year survival for patients beginning combination therapy, a finding that "was stronger in those with worse prognosis at the start of follow-up." According to the researchers, this "demonstrates the benefits of being treated even at the most advanced stages" of disease.

The study results, Hernan said, "can be used to inform policy models and cost-effectiveness calculations in Western populations."

The study, "The Effect of Combined Antiretroviral Therapy on the Overall Mortality of HIV-Infected Individuals," was published in the journal AIDS (2010;24(1):123-137).

Back to other news for January 2010

Adapted from:
Reuters Health
01.04.2010; David Douglas

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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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