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HIV Death Gap Closing

Near-Normal Life Span With Early HIV Detection, Treatment

continued...

Porter is quick to point out that the treatment success she and her colleagues document does not apply to most people -- even those with access to treatment.

"This survival isn't what everybody would be getting. But this is what is possible when you diagnose infection early on and get medical care right from the beginning and manage it in an optimal way and treatment gets started when indicated," she says. "Early diagnosis is the most important factor."

More than 33 million people are infected with HIV. Even by conservative estimates, some 10 million of them need treatment right away -- and only 3 million are getting it. While that's 7.5 times more people than got treatment just four years ago, there's still a very long way to go before even half of the treatment need is met.

The numbers quickly get depressing. But Fischl remains optimistic.

"Cure is still a realistic goal," she insists. "Research is looking at ways of enhancing the success of long-term treatment, and even going for the cure. Because we are still asking that question."

Porter and colleagues report their findings in the July 2 issue of TheJournal of the American Medical Association.

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