What is it? & Why is good for you?
Since Anti Retroviral Treatment proved to be an effective way to treat the HIV virus there has been an on going debate about when is the best time to start treatment. Some thought it better to put off treatment others thought it better to wait untill the CD4 count dropped to a specific number or below.
Recent clinical trials now show that starting treatment as soon as you can is better for you than waiting.
Starting treatment as soon as you can after you find out you have HIV can protect you against both AIDS and non-AIDS illnesses. One study called the START study showed that
- HIV treatment was safe for people starting HIV meds with a high CD4 count. Many people in START had a CD4 count above 800.
- Early treatment led to fewer serious AIDS-related illnesses, even at high CD4 counts.
- The biggest impact from early treatment was expected to be on illnesses like heart, liver and kidney disease and some non-AIDS cancers. The opposite was true. This is big news.
- The results were similar in in both low-income and high-income countries. This should result in making HIV treatment more available in all countries.
In addition to the benefits to your own health there is a lot of evidence that when we are on treatment and our Viral Load has been undetectable for over six months the chance of us passing on HIV is practically Zero.