An International study conducted by the University of New South Wales scientists resulted in proving that breaks taken in-between the HIV treatment can be life threatening and resulted in early deaths. This study was discontinued halfway through because they identified that the patients who took a break faced increased risk of death or suffer a progression of the disease, compared with those who took the drugs consistently.
This study had more than 5000 people participating from different countries. About 200 patients from Australia and New Zealand participated in the study.
It is widely accepted that patients stop their treatment for HIV when there is a slight improvement in their health. This is mainly done to reduce the drug's harmful side effects such as damage to the heart, kidney and liver. They need not go in for the next degree treatment and reduce the exposure of their body to toxic chemicals, once when their body has acquired resistance with initial therapy.
But the study has shown that this is not the case and the researcher of the Australian side of the study, Associate Professor Sean Emery, said that once the treament is commenced, patients should not think of stopping it as it might prove fatal.He also mentioned that people need to think extensively before starting the treatment.
Statistic show that about 16,000 Australians suffer from HIV, and 50% of them are already going in for the antiretroviral therapies. The symptoms which probe the doctors to request their patients to commence the therapy are very lear in some cases but are ambiguous in others.
Many australians are in the practice of discontinuing the antiretroviral therapy once they have regained their immunity but this practice should be avoided now. The study was led by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It did a comparative study between two sets of patients one who were on the antiretroviral therapy, with those who were asked to discontinue after they regained the standard white blood cell count and told them to resume the therapy once the count declined to a lower threshold.
As such the study was to continue for a period of five years but it was discontinued when it showed devasting results. Now the study patients were being informed by their doctors to resume their medication and continue with it.