If started early, HIV treatment reduces death rates toward background levels in African countries

Apr 28, 2009

Mortality rates of people starting HIV treatment in four African countries approach those of the general population over time, provided that treatment is started before the immune system has been severely damaged, according to research published this week in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine.

In sub-Saharan Africa more than 2 million people with HIV now receive antiretroviral treatment (ART), and mortality in HIV-infected patients who have access to ART is declining. In the new study, Matthias Egger of the University of Berne and colleagues investigated how mortality among HIV-infected people starting ART compares with non-HIV related mortality in Cote d'Ivoire, Malawi, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The researchers analyzed information about people during their first two years on ART in five treatment programs participating in the International epidemiological Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) initiative, and obtained estimates of HIV-unrelated deaths in these countries from the World Health Organization Global Burden of Disease (GBD) project.

Their findings indicate that mortality among HIV-infected people during the first two years of ART is higher than in the general population in these four sub-Saharan countries. However, for patients who start ART when they have a high lymphocyte count and no signs of advanced disease, the excess mortality is moderate and similar to that associated with diabetes.

More information: Brinkhof MWG, Boulle A, Weigel R, Messou E, Mathers C, et al. (2009) Mortality of HIV-Infected Patients Starting Antiretroviral Therapy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Comparison with HIV-Unrelated Mortality. PLoS Med 6(4): e1000066. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000066, medicine.plosjournals.org/perl… journal.pmed.1000066

Source: Public Library of Science (news : web)

Explore further: More bad news in fight against persistent HIV reservoirs

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Immune exhaustion in HIV infection

May 06, 2008

As HIV disease progresses in a person infected with the HIV virus, a group of cells in the immune system, the CD8+ T lymphocytes, become “exhausted,” losing many of their abilities to kill other cells infected by the ...

Antiretroviral therapy as HIV prevention strategy

Jun 30, 2008

The widespread use of highly active antiretroviral therapy may reduce the incidence of HIV in individuals and populations but has been overlooked by public health as a prevention strategy, write Dr. Julio Montaner and colleagues ...

Recommended for you

HIV pills show more promise to prevent infection

16 hours ago

There is more good news about HIV treatment pills used to prevent infection in people at high risk of getting the AIDS virus: Follow-up from a landmark study that proved the drug works now shows that it does ...

User comments : 0