Study: San Francisco’s Early Treatment Policy Could Curb HIV Cases
The rate of new HIV cases in San FranciscoÂ could decline significantly if physicians and patients widely accepted the city's new early treatment policy, according to a study by UC-San Francisco and the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Researchers used a mathematical model to predict the effects of San Francisco's early treatment policy, which the city implemented last year. The actual impact of the policy change will not be known until later this year.
Federal guidelines recommend that HIV-positive people begin antiviral treatment when their T-cell count is below 500.
San Francisco is one of the first cities to recommend that all HIV-positive individuals begin antiviral treatment immediately, regardless of T-cell count.
The study predicted that if all HIV-positive individuals began treatment immediately, the rate of new HIV cases among men who have sex with men could decline by more than 60% over the next eight years.
If San Francisco implemented annual HIV screenings in addition to early treatment for men who have sex with men, the rate of new HIV cases could decline by more than 80%, according to the study.
It is not entirely clear how early treatment curbs the spread of HIV, but several studies have shown that HIV transmission decreases when an HIV-positive person is receiving treatment (Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.