People who have the Aids virus should start drug treatments sooner than current guidelines recommend, suggests a large new study that could change the care of hundreds of thousands of South Africans.
Those with Aids advised to take their drugsIf the results prompt doctors to change practice - as Fauci and other Aids specialists predict - several hundred thousand people who are not taking Aids drugs now would be advised to start. The study was reported Sunday at an infectious diseases conference in Washington.
"The data are rather compelling that the risk of death appears to be higher if you wait than if you treat," said Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which helped pay for the study.
How the study was done
"There was this thinking, maybe the drugs were worse than the disease. If you could wait as long as you possibly could wait, you would have fewer side effects," said Dr Robert Schooley, infectious diseases chief at the University of California, San Diego.
People still being tested too late
The bigger problem is that as many as a third of people diagnosed with HIV only discover they are infected after their T-cell counts already have fallen below 350 and they have serious complications.
The future of HIV/Aids in SA
Aids targets missed - UN