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Early AIDS Treatment Helpful But Is It Affordable?

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(credit: ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)

CBS Minnesota (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSMinnesota.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSMinnesota.com/Health

By Bruce Hagevik, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Early drug treatment may increase survival time for AIDS patients, according to a recent study by Harvard. Some doctors are recommending treatment even before the patient is at risk of AIDS-related complications.

But an AIDS specialist at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis says limited resources have to be considered.

“We still need to do more studies that really look at whether we should treat people very early when the clinical benefit is very small or modest,” said Dr. Keith Henry of HCMC.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Bruce Hagevik Reports

He’s worried that more seriously ill patients will be denied expensive treatment if drugs are given to patients who don’t face an immediate threat.

Dr. Henry is calling for clinical studies to more clearly define the appropriate time for treatment.

At one time a diagnosis of AIDS was considered a death sentence but dramatic advancements in treatment have been made.

“We’re hoping for people to have near normal life expectancy if they’re identified to be infected and get treatment at the appropriate time,” said Henry.

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