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Data could help clinics manage HIV care

Regular medical care is critical for people with HIV to manage their health and recent estimates suggest only 54 percent of patients see their providers as directed, far below the national goal of 90 percent. New research from the School of Public Health shows that HIV clinics could use HIV surveillance data collected by state health departments to help routinely and accurately determine the status of patients who appear lost to care.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research snapshot: No two kinds of retroviruses look – or act – the same

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers in the Institute for Molecular Virology and School of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota report that most types of retroviruses have distinct, non-identical virus structures.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research snapshot: UMN study identifies mechanism in drug target that helps block HIV’s ability to spread

University of Minnesota researchers have identified the mechanism of a potential HIV drug target, which could be more cost-effective than currently used HIV drugs.

The study expanded upon previous UMN research, which identified that the nucleoside 5-azacytidine (5-aza-C) blocked HIV’s ability to spread. 5-aza-C triggers lethal mutagenesis, a process in which HIV mutations speed up to a point that the HIV essentially wears itself out.

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research-and-clinical-trials

For HIV treatment, the earlier the better

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Inquiry.

New Doctors treating people with HIV have faced a tough decision. Should patients begin drug therapy before AIDS symptoms appear, and put up with the inconvenience and potential side effects? Or is it better to wait until their CD4+ T cell count – a key barometer of the immune system’s health –drops below a certain level, even though that means a greater risk of transmitting the virus to a partner?

This summer an answer finally emerged. The international START (Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment) study, the first large, randomized and controlled clinical trial of the issue, showed the benefits of early treatment so clearly that the trial was halted prematurely so the volunteers receiving deferred treatment could begin therapy.

“Early treatment was effective everywhere in the world,” says James Neaton, a University of Minnesota biostatistics professor and principal investigator for INSIGHT (International Network for Strategic Initiatives in Global HIV Trials), which designed and conducted the trial. “We had more than a thousand people enrolled from sub-Saharan Africa, and a total of 4,685 people from 35 countries.”

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in-the-news

In the News: U of M research confirms benefits of early HIV treatment

In a study conducted by the U of M, research found those with HIV should be put on antiretroviral drugs as soon as they learn they are infected, as announced by NIH officials.

The findings came in combination with a statement ending the study because the benefits of starting treatment right away were so definitive.

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news-and-notes

University of Minnesota researchers find better time to start HIV therapy

Patients suffering from an AIDS-related infection should start therapy later than expected, according to a new study from the University of Minnesota Medical School.

In a report set to appear in the June 26, 2014, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that waiting 4-6 weeks to start HIV therapy after cryptococcal meningitis diagnosis resulted in 15% better survival than starting HIV therapy 1-2 weeks after diagnosis.

“The overall result is quite surprising. As with every other AIDS-related infection, starting HIV therapy sooner is better,” said the study’s lead author David Boulware, M.D., M.P.H. “It appears that brain infections are different.”

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