In many countries outside the United States, decisions on when to start treatment for HIV infection are based on the level of certain white blood cells called CD4+ T cells, which are commonly measured to determine immune health. A study by National Institutes of Health grantees suggests that the best time to start treatment also should be based on how much time has elapsed since becoming HIV-infected. The researchers found that starting treatment within a year of seroconversion-the period within a few weeks of HIV infection when antibodies to the virus are first produced and their concentration reaches a detectable level-can improve immune health.
JF Okulicz et al. Influence of the timing of antiretroviral therapy on the potential for normalization of immune status in human immunodeficiency virus 1-infected individuals. JAMA Internal Medicine DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.4010 (2014).
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is available for comment.
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