AIDS-treatment guidelines revised

A panel of scientists has revised the guidelines that physicians use to prescribe medication for patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus.

The new guidelines include starting antiretroviral drugs, which are designed for the class of viruses that include HIV, when a patient’s CD4 T cell count dips below 350 per cubic millimeter of blood, down from the past standard of 500 T cells/mm3. Even with T cell counts higher than 350 cells/mm3, patients would still be candidates for therapy if they have 30,000 to 55,000 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood. This is higher than past guidelines, which suggested a range of 10,000 to 20,000 copies as the threshold for prescribing antiretroviral drugs.

The new guidelines come from the Panel on Clinical Practices for the Treatment of HV Infection, convened jointly by the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., and the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation of Menlo Park, Calif.

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