Now, millions more could get HIV treatment
Washington: A landmark study by researchers in Australia could help millions more get access to life-saving HIV drug therapy.
Australian researchers based at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) found that a lower daily dose of an important HIV drug therapy is safe and as effective in suppressing the virus as the standard recommended dose.
UNSW Professor Sean Emery, the protocol chairperson of the study, known as ENCORE1 and Head of the Therapeutic and Vaccine Research Program at the Kirby Institute, said that this has the potential to affect the treatment of millions of HIV positive people.
Emery said that a reduced daily dose should translate into a lower cost of treatment and permit more effective and efficient use of health care resources. Essentially, more people could receive this life-saving treatment for the same amount of funding.
HIV-positive people from 13 countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America took part in the trial. Half these people took two-thirds of the current standard daily dose of the antiretroviral (ART) efavirenz, a commonly used treatment for HIV; the other half took the standard daily dose.
The 630 participants were observed regularly for a year. The results indicate that a reduction in daily dose of one third is both safe and effective compared to the higher dose currently recommended for people with HIV infection.