Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Coverage could soar under new guidelines

From the Globe and Mail:
The number of people with HIV-AIDS eligible for treatment with powerful drug cocktails could more than double under new guidelines being published today.

In wealthy countries such as Canada, that means virtually everyone who is infected with the AIDS virus could soon be on a drug regimen.

But the number of people in the developing world getting optimal treatment is unlikely to grow because of the cost, creating an ever-widening care gap.

"Our coverage is sub-optimal everywhere," Julio Montaner, president of the International AIDS Society, said yesterday. "We want these guidelines to be a motivation for the expansion of treatment."

Currently, people with HIV-AIDS are deemed to be eligible for treatment with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) when their CD4 count falls below 200. (CD4 cells control the body's immune response against infections and are a key measure of how the disease is progressing.) Under the new guidelines, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it is recommended that anyone with a CD4 count of 350 or lower begin treatment with ARVs. ...more

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