The federal government has halted a large clinical trial on early HIV treatment because results already in conclusively show that newly diagnosed patients do best if they start on anti-retroviral therapy immediately. Via the New York Times:
The study was stopped more than a year early because preliminary data already showed that those who got treatment immediately were 53 percent less likely to die during the trial or develop AIDS or a serious illness than those who waited. The study is strong evidence that early treatment saves more lives, the officials said. Fewer than 14 million of the estimated 35 million people infected with H.I.V. around the world are on treatment now, according to U.N.AIDS, the United Nations AIDS-fighting agency. In the United States, only about 450,000 of the estimated 1.2 million with H.I.V. are on treatment, according to the Centers for “This is another incentive to seek out testing and start therapy early, because you will benefit,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, which sponsored the trial. “The sooner, the better.”
Many HIV/AIDS advocacy groups have long said that treatment should start immediately. New York City’s Department of Health began advising immediate treatment in 2011.