Guidelines Outline HIV/AIDS Treatment Strategies; Study Examines Access to Treatment; Essay Discusses Fighting AIDS in Developing Countries
- "The Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in HIV-1 Infected Adults and Adolescents": HHS on Saturday released revised guidelines for HIV treatment in adults and adolescents that include changes in recommendations concerning when to start treatment and which medications patients should use at the outset of therapy. The guidelines also address considerations for antiretroviral drug therapy in such populations as injection drug users; patients co-infected with tuberculosis, hepatitis B or hepatitis C; and patients with acute HIV infection (AIDSinfo release, 10/29).
- "The Johns Hopkins HIV Guide": The Point of Care Information Technology Center at Johns Hopkins University on Saturday launched the Johns Hopkins HIV Guide. The guide will serve as a treatment and clinical decision support tool for health care providers. More than 35 experts in HIV/AIDS care nationwide will produce and update the guide's database on newly developed therapies and treatment practices (JHU release, 11/2).
- "Does Racial Concordance Between HIV-Positive Patients and Their Physicians Affect the Time to Receipt of Protease Inhibitors?": A study published in the Nov. 3 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine indicates that HIV-positive African Americans are more likely to receive effective antiretroviral drug treatment if they have African-American doctors rather than white doctors. The researchers found that African-American patients with white doctors received protease inhibitors almost four months later than African-American patients with African-American physicians. The authors conclude that racial concordance should be addressed in future programs, policies and research into racial and ethnic health care disparities (King et al., Journal of General Internal Medicine, 11/3).
- "Steps on the Critical Path: Arresting HIV/AIDS in Developing Countries": CDC Director Julie Gerberding in an essay published in the October issue of PLoS Medicine examines several steps toward curbing HIV/AIDS epidemics in developing countries. Primarily, it is "critical" that developing countries have enough health care professionals to administer lifesaving antiretroviral drug therapies, Gerberding says. Therefore, the "brain drain" of qualified health care workers from developing countries must be reversed because HIV/AIDS treatment and care will be "required for decades," Gerberding writes. In addition, it is necessary to focus on "each individual living with HIV" because, as "we hear the numbers -- the millions upon millions infected, ... we grow numb," according to Gerberding. She says that more emphasis must be placed on HIV diagnosis in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment strategies, concluding that the "real" challenges in curbing the epidemic include delivering drugs in a "safe and effective way" and "sustaining the pipeline of drugs so that ongoing treatment can be guaranteed" (Gerberding, PLoS Medicine, October 2004).