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Massive Change in U.S. Treatment Guidelines

January 2010

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Table of Contents

Introduction

For many years the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been producing guidelines to help physicians when they are considering options for the treatment of their HIV-positive patients. The DHHS guidelines are closely watched because they often set the standard to which guidelines in other countries aspire.

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For help writing the guidelines, the DHHS crafted a panel of leading infectious disease and other specialists who have experience in the research and treatment of HIV infection.

On December 1, 2009, the DHHS released the latest version of the guidelines for the treatment of adults and adolescents with HIV. There have been major revisions to the guidelines, resulting in a shift toward much earlier treatment.

Usually the guidelines inform physicians which groups of drugs are best used. In another major departure from recent practice, the guidelines now recommend specific regimens of anti-HIV drugs. This may simplify physician decision-making -- after all, more than 20 drugs for the treatment of HIV are available in a confusing array of possible combinations. However, in privileging just a few regimens over others, the panel courts controversy.

The DHHS also makes additional guidelines on these topics:

  • the treatment of life-threatening infections
  • prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV
  • caring for HIV-positive children

These and other guides are available at:

www.aidsinfo.nih.gov/Guidelines/Default.aspx?MenuItem=Guidelines&Search=On

In this issue of TreatmentUpdate, we highlight key changes in the guidelines, particularly in the area of starting treatment.

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This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. It is a part of the publication TreatmentUpdate. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
See Also
Read the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in HIV-1-Infected Adults and Adolescents (PDF)
More News and Analysis on HIV Treatment Guidelines

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