Health

New drugs to starve HIV to death

HIV treatment known as antiretroviral therapy has shown to remarkably reduce the likelihood of developing AIDS in HIV patients, according to an international study published on Wednesday.

The study’s data had shown that people who received such antiretroviral treatment in HIV patients were 53% percent less likely to develop AIDS or any other serious illness. They were compared to a control group where the treatment was performed later, after their immune system was weakened. The study was published a year earlier than planned, due to striking results.

Scientists also stated that this study adds to previous research in which this type of HIV treatment was proven to prevent HIV transmission to healthy sexual partners and indicates that such treatment is beneficial for everyone who is diagnosed HIV positive.

“We now have clear-cut proof that it is of significantly greater health benefit to an HIV patient to start antiretroviral therapy sooner rather than later,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Fauci also added that this HIV treatment is not only beneficial, but also shows significant decrease in the viral load, reducing the risk of transmitting the virus to other individuals.

This study started in 2011 and was conducted in 34 countries. The subjects were 4,684  infected men and women above the age of 18.

Without antiretroviral treatment, the average survival time of an HIV patient is estimated to be from 9 to 11 years, which also depends on the virus subtype.

As of 2012, an estimated 36 million deaths were caused by AIDS while 35 million are living with the virus globally. HIV/AIDS is considered to be a pandemic outbreak in which it is present in large areas and is continuously spreading. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first recognized AIDS in 1981 and genetic research has shown that it originated in west-central Africa in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends to use this type of HIV treatment for HIV patients.