, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 60-68,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

When to Start Antiretroviral Therapy

Abstract

The question of when to start combination antiretroviral therapy for treatment-naïve patients has always been controversial. This is particularly true in the current era, with major guidelines recommending very different treatment strategies. Despite a lack of clarity regarding the optimal time to begin therapy, there has been a recent shift toward earlier initiation. This more aggressive approach is driven by several observations. First, effective viral suppression with therapy can prevent non-AIDS-related morbidity and mortality. Second, therapy can prevent irreversible harm to the human immune system. Third, therapy may prevent transmission of HIV to others, and thus have a potential public health benefit. For patients who are motivated and willing to initiate early treatment, the collective benefits of early therapy may outweigh the well-documented risks of antiretroviral medications.