Antiretrovirals Increasingly Used for HIV in the U.S.

Viral load has decreased and CD4 counts have increased in the past decade

FRIDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Since 2000, more HIV-infected patients in the United States are receiving antiretroviral treatment, viral load has fallen, and CD4 counts at death have risen, according to a study published in the Sept. 4 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Keri N. Althoff, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues analyzed data from the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design (NA-ACCORD) on HIV treatment and health outcomes for 45,529 HIV-infected individuals receiving care in an NA-ACCORD participating clinical cohort in the United States from 2000 to 2008. The study population was demographically similar to the U.S. population living with HIV in 2008.

The researchers found that, by 2008, the percentage of patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy had increased significantly by 9 percentage points to 83 percent. The percentage of patients with suppressed HIV RNA plasma viral load (≤2.7 log10 copies/mL) increased significantly by 26 percentage points to 72 percent. In addition, median CD4 cell counts at death increased significantly, more than tripling to 0.209 × 109 cells/L.

"This is good news for the HIV epidemic in the United States, but there is room for improvement," Althoff said in a statement. "We need to continue to focus on linking HIV-infected adults into care and effective treatment, not only for the individual's health, but to reduce the likelihood of transmission to others."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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