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Study finds that HIV treatment should start earlier

An article in USA Today reports on the findings of a study that showed that HIV treatment should start earlier in order to improve survival rates.

The study looked at data from 22 other studies conducted between 1996 and 2006. A total of 8,374 patients were looked at and the results showed that those who received treatment later in the course of their HIV infection were 70% more likely to die than those who received treatment sooner.

The article reports that the current guidelines for treatment are to begin when the patients CD4 T-cells fall below 350 per cubic millimeter and that patients in the study "fared better" when treated when their CD$ T-cells were between 350 and 500 cells per cubic millimeter. Whether this guideline is actually followed by all doctors is not reported.

Anything that can be done to improve the quality of life and length of life for people with HIV should be done, but this article does not do a great job of explaining all of the parameters around the research and the benefits and risks of moving treatment earlier. Some treatments can cause people more hardships than not doing them because of cost and side effects from medication. This is definitely an issue that patients and doctors will have to talk about as they form a treatment plan so that the patient is getting the best quality of life that they can.