An article published in a special November 2017 edition of the open access journal PLOS Medicine dedicated to HIV showcases a team of doctors at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) who revealed further evidence that timing may be everything when it comes to initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART). Previous studies have led researchers to wonder if very early treatment initiation could be the key to long-term ART-free HIV remission, a cure, or at the very least limit the total viral burden of HIV in an individual.
The timing of the HIV test is key. A “window period” – a few days after immediate infection – when the virus is not detected by a screening, may result in a negative test result even if the individual does in fact have the virus – meaning he or she may begin PrEP despite already having acquired HIV. This was the case with one of two individuals in a groundbreaking story spearheaded by former UCSF physician Hiroyu Hatano and a team currently led by Drs. Steve Deeks and Tim Henrich.
The research, supported in part by the amfAR Institute for HIV Cure Research, is described in an article by the UCSF AIDS Research Institute.