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September 4, 2009

Early treatment and interruption makes no difference to disease progression, study finds

"The largest study yet done on the whether immediate antiretroviral therapy (ART) may benefit people with recent HIV infection has found that immediate treatment followed by treatment interruption produced no reduction in the subsequent viral load ‘set point’ of people starting ART in early infection, and no reduction in the expected set point of patients starting treatment in acute infection, before seroconversion.

"The ACTG 371 study did find that in subjects who interrupted their treatment after a year of treatment, a large minority (40%) of patients, and nearly half (48%) of those with a baseline viral load of under 100,000 copies/ml, still had a viral load less than 5,000 six months after ceasing to take their initial treatment regimen.

"However the researchers were unable to say if their strategy produced improved immune control and clinical benefit compared to similar patients who do not start ART. They conclude: “Early ART followed by treatment interruption does not produce the profound alterations in disease course that were originally suggested by uncontrolled studies."

Read more in Aidsmap, September 4, 2009.

Comment: It had been hoped that very early treatment could permanently reduce the viral-load setpoint. That did not happen in this study.