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Optimum Time For HIV Treatment Is Within Four Months Of Infection

— There are a number of benefits to the early treatment of people with HIV, including reducing the risk of passing the infection onto others. A new study reveals the optimum time window to begin therapy is extremely short.

Aired 1/21/13 on KPBS News.

HIV treatment is most beneficial when it's started within four months of the estimated infection date, according to a new study.

The study followed 468 HIV patients in San Diego. It sought to find out whether there was a period of time when starting HIV treatment would result in better outcomes.

UC San Diego HIV specialist Susan Little, who co-wrote the study, said people who started HIV treatment within four months of becoming infected saw the best recovery of their immune function.

"The thing that we didn't already suspect," Little explained, "is that that restorative time window was so short."

Little emphasized that rapid HIV tests don't always detect whether someone has been newly infected. She said more specialized tests are needed to find people who could most benefit from the four-month treatment window.

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