Some HIV-Positive People Taking Longer To Initiate Treatment

Armen Hareyan's picture

Some HIV-positive people in key demographic groups do not seektreatment any sooner than they did in the past, and some people nowtake longer to initiate treatment, according to a study published inthe Nov. 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, United Press International reports (United Press International, 10/27).


For the study, Jeanne Keruly and Richard Moore of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine analyzed data of 3,300 HIV-positive people seeking treatment from the Johns Hopkins AIDS Servicefrom 1990 to 2006. The data were examined as a whole and as demographicsubsets that included gender, race, injection drug users, heterosexualsand men who have sex with men. The researchers examined the amount oftime between HIV diagnosis and the time when a person sought treatment.They also looked at the HIV-positive person's immune status at theonset of care.

The study found that among all men, the averagelength between diagnosis and seeking care was 270 days at the beginningof the study, decreasing to 183 days by the end. White men and MSMtended to seek care sooner after being diagnosed with HIV, the studyfound. Women's times to seek treatment after diagnosis remained fairlyconstant throughout the study. Among IDUs, times to seek treatmentafter diagnosis increased from an average of 378 days at the beginningof the study to 630 days at the conclusion, according to the study.

Peoplein all demographic categories, with the exception of MSM, demonstrateda trend of increased disease progression -- likely indicating thatpeople are receiving HIV tests later after they contracted the virusthan in the past -- the study found. The level of progression put theparticipants at an increased risk of poorer clinical outcomes fromantiretroviral therapy than if they had presented earlier for care. Inresponse to the findings, the researchers called on Maryland toimplement new strategies to provide earlier HIV testing and referral toHIV care and treatment (Infectious Diseases Society of America release, 10/25).

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