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WHEN TO BEGIN

ANCHOR LEAD: HOW DO WE DECIDE WHEN TO GIVE ANTIVIRAL MEDICATIONS TO SOMEONE WHO’S HIV INFECTED?  ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Controversy continues over when to begin drug therapy in people infected with HIV, but Joel Gallant, an HIV expert at Johns Hopkins, says one of the most important factors is the mental outlook of the patient.

GALLANT:  I wouldn’t treat somebody who’s not ready to be treated, somebody who’s not capable of adhering to therapy, someone who’s not convinced that it’s time to be treated.  And there’s also the question of whether we should defer therapy in people who are doing well without treatment, people who maintain very low viral loads and high CD4 counts, the so called long term nonprogressors, but even those people have evidence of more inflammation and more immune activation than people on treatment so you could even argue that those people should be treated.               :26

Gallant says a big part of his consultation with people who are HIV positive is their education regarding treatment options.  He says concerns about drug therapy can be addressed, with a range of medication choices available today to reduce the likelihood of unacceptable side effects.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.



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