Main Outcomes From World AIDS Forum
July 27, 2010
Strong scientific evidence presented at the 18th International AIDS Conference (IAC) in Vienna showed clear progress is possible in fighting HIV/AIDS, though economic woes have made the resource gap wider.
For the health of those living with HIV, treatment should be initiated at a CD4 count of 350 cells/mm3, regardless of the presence or absence of clinical symptoms, the World Health Organization announced at the conference. Earlier access to antiretroviral therapy benefits HIV patients in reduced morbidity and mortality, several recent studies show. Expanded ARV access also reduces HIV incidence in society at large, according to research by International AIDS Society President Dr. Julio Montaner and British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS colleagues.
For years, experts have avoided using the term "eradicate" with respect to HIV, largely because the virus rebounds once treatment stops. Nobel laureate and HIV co-discoverer Francoise Barre-Sinoussi returned to the question of whether viral "reservoirs" can indeed someday be flushed out to eradicate HIV from the body.
The aging of the HIV-positive population was also discussed. Both the virus and ARVs are linked with myriad health effects. Many older patients are now facing cancer, diabetes, heart, liver, and kidney diseases without adequate savings or social support, experts said.
The IAC, which ended July 23, will next be held in Washington, D.C., in 2012.
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