Early Antibiotic Treatment May Help AIDS Patients

Antibiotic treatment for AIDSA research has confirmed that the use of an inexpensive and commonly-prescribed antibiotic has dramatically reduced the number of deaths among AIDS patients in Africa.  The drug co-trimoxazole, which is marketed under brand names such as Septrim or Bactrim, is widely used to treat pneumonia as well as ear and urinary tract infections.  It has also been found to be able to treat malaria.

The study, which will be published online by The Lancet next week, covered about 3,000 patients in Uganda and Zimbabwe who began taking antiretroviral therapy and whose CD4 immune cell count were lower than 200 cells per microliter.  It was found that the risk of dying during the first three months of being treated with the antibiotic reduced by 59 percent compared to those who were not using co-trimoxazole.  The reduced risk continued to fall until after 72 weeks of treatment, ending up at 35 percent.

Researchers recommend the use of co-trimoxazole during the early stages of HIV treatment, as the antibiotic also has very low side effects apart from the dramatic reduction in mortality rate.

Source:  AFP

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