Clinicians trying to develop an HIV treatment involving fewer drugs – and which could perhaps be taken as a monthly or quarterly injection – have reported encouraging results.
Usually HIV treatment involves three or more different drugs. Two drugs are from the nucleoside class – for example the Truvada and Kivexa pills each combine two nucleoside drugs. And the third drug is from another drug class, such as the non-nucleosides, protease inhibitors or integrase inhibitors.
Statins may reduce the risk of heart disease
There is growing evidence that treatment with statins is beneficial for people living with HIV, reducing their risk of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular disease.
Rates of heart attack and coronary heart disease in people living with HIV are up to double those of HIV-negative people. While some of this is due to higher rates of risky behaviours such as smoking, researchers also think that HIV infection and the persistent immune activation and inflammation that it causes contributes to the higher rates.
More People taking treatment as prevention
An increasing number of people living with HIV in the UK are choosing to take HIV treatment in order to reduce their risk of onward transmission.
While British treatment guidelines generally recommend that HIV treatment is begun with a CD4 count of around 350 cells/mm3, they also advise doctors to discuss the evidence for the effectiveness of antiretroviral treatment as prevention with all their patients. Regardless of CD4 cell count, any individual who wishes to take treatment in order to protect their partners from the risk of HIV infection should be able to do so.
Research towards a cure
Scientists remain enthusiastic about their work to find a cure for HIV but they have warned that progress is likely to be slow. “It will wind out over years or decades before we have functional cure applicable to many people with HIV,” Dr John Mellors of the University of Pittsburgh told a recent scientific conference.