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BHIVA welcomes the provisional results of the START study

Tuesday 2 June 2015

BHIVA welcomes the provisional results of the START study, which demonstrate significant benefits to starting antiretroviral therapy early. We look forward to the presentation of the full results at the IAS conference in Vancouver in July.

The updated BHIVA antiretroviral treatment guidelines were due to be released for public consultation imminently but will now be deferred pending inclusion of the START study results in our analyses.

Reassuringly, even in the deferred group of START, the absolute risk of a significant event was very small (6.5 additional events of AIDS, serious non-AIDS or death per 1000 patient-years of follow up). The short-term risk associated with not being on treatment to anyone with HIV with a high CD4 count is thus very small.

Around 90% of people with diagnosed HIV in the UK are already on antiretroviral therapy. Any benefit of early treatment requires early diagnosis. The most pressing priority in the UK is still to increase HIV testing, in order to reduce both late presentation of HIV infection and also to reduce the number of people whose HIV infection remains undiagnosed (estimated at over 26,000 people in 2013).