A clinical trial of same-day initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV patients in South Africa led to a higher proportion of people starting treatment and to better health outcomes, according to a new study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher.
The study randomly assigned 377 adult patients at two public clinics in Johannesburg to two groups: One that was offered the chance to start treatment on the same day, using rapid lab tests and accelerated counseling and a physical exam, and the other assigned to standard treatment procedures, usually requiring three to five more clinic visits over a two- to four-week period.
The study, in the journal PLOS Medicine, found that 97 percent of patients in the rapid-initiation group (dubbed the RapIT intervention) had started ART within 90 days, compared to 72 percent receiving standard care. And by 10 months after enrollment, 64 percent of patients in the rapid group had good outcomes, in terms of viral suppression, compared to 51 percent in the standard arm.
“The RapIT intervention showed clinically meaningful improvements in ART uptake and viral suppression, providing proof of principle that a single-visit treatment approach can have benefits,” BUSPH global health professor and lead author Dr. Sydney Rosen said. “The patients who likely benefitted the most from it are those who would not otherwise have initiated treatment at all, or who would have waited until they were sick enough to compromise their prognosis.”
To read more about the study, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2016/05/10/same-day-hiv-treatment-improves-health-outcomes/