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Starting HIV Treatment May Reduce Serious Non-AIDS-Related Diseases in Newly Diagnosed, Study Finds

By Warren Tong
October 16, 2012


Starting HIV antiretroviral therapy may reduce the risk of serious non-AIDS-defining diseases in individuals recently diagnosed with HIV, according to a recent Spanish study published in the journal AIDS.

Although it is well known how modern HIV treatment has dramatically reduced AIDS-defining illnesses, it is less clear what impact antiretroviral therapy has on non-AIDS-defining illnesses (such as cardiovascular disease, cancers and psychiatric disorders), which have come to comprise an increasingly large proportion of the complications experienced by people living with HIV.

To explore this question, researchers from the Spanish AIDS Research Cohort (CoRIS) studied 5,185 treatment-naive patients, 86.5% of whom had been diagnosed in 2004 or later, and followed them until 2010. They found that the incidence rate of non-AIDS events (NAEs) was 28.93 per 1,000 person-years, while the incidence rate of AIDS-defining events was 25.23 per 1,000 person-years.

There were a total of 423 NAEs in 367 patients. The most common NAEs were psychiatric disorders, liver disease, cancers, kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. After adjusting for potential confounding factors, older age, a high viral load and a low CD4+ count were associated with the occurrence of NAEs, the investigators found.

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