WASHINGTON -- Treatment of HIV infection before it causes symptoms may delay progression to AIDS but does not prolong survival, a new study has found.
The study, reported yesterday in the British Medical Journal, supports findings from the Concorde study in Europe that in 1993 called into question a standard practice of prescribing the drug AZT for people infected with HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS.
The British study involved 436 AIDS patients at St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London. Its authors said they hoped it would raise more discussion about the relative merits of treating HIV early or after symptoms develop and stimulate scientists to focus more studies on the quality of life among those treated for HIV infection.
"We are hoping to move the debate on about what we are actually doing for patients" such as whether benefits of early treatment outweigh adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting and bleeding, said Dr. Mark Poznansky, a co-author of the study.