Same-Day HIV Treatment Could Improve Health Outcomes

Patients receiving same-day treatment for HIV were more likely to start antiretroviral therapy and had better viral suppression.

A recent study finds that same-day initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) leads to more patients starting treatment with better health outcomes regarding viral suppression.

The study, published by PLOS Medicine, randomized 377 patients in South Africa into 2 groups. The first group was offered to start treatment that day, while the second group received standard treatment, which can require 3 to 5 visits over a 2- to 4-week period of time.

Researchers found that 97% of patients in the rapid-initiation group (RapIT intervention) started ART within 90 days, compared with 72% of the standard care group, according to the study.

After 10 months, 64% of patients in the RapIT intervention group had good outcomes compared with 51% in the standard care group.

"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,” said lead study author Sydney Rosen, MPA. "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."

According to the study, the loss to follow-up was higher in the RapIT intervention group than the standard care group among patients who started treatment within 3 months.

Approximately 28% of patients in the standard treatment group failed to start treatment, compared with 3% of RapIT intervention patients.

“Consideration could be given to accelerating the process of ART initiation in many different settings and for different types of patients,” the researchers concluded.