July 25 (UPI) -- A recent study suggests initiating antiretroviral therapy, or ART, on the same day as HIV testing may lead to improved retention and outcomes in HIV patients.
The current standard for diagnosis and treatment of HIV is to conduct testing first and if a patient does test positive, they must come back for multiple visits for counseling and laboratory procedures to prepare for ART eligibility and initiation.
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Weill Medical College of Cornell University tested a randomized trial of same-day ART at the Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi's Sarcoma and Opportunistic infections, or GHESKIO, Centers in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Study participants were divided into two groups, 356 who tested positive for HIV and received standard care and 347 who tested positive and underwent same-day ART.
The study, published July 25 in PLOS Medicine, showed that 12 months after diagnosis, retention in care was improved for 80 percent of participants in the same-day ART group compared to 72 percent in the standard care group.
"These results are important given recent WHO 2016 guidelines stating the lack of evidence in support of same-day ART initiation," researchers wrote in the study.