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Early HIV diagnosis can reduce treatment cost, says experts

07-23-2010 09:31 BJT

VIENNA, July 22 (Xinhua) -- A panel of experts from Austria have suggested that people should be tested for HIV in young or middle ages so that HIV infection can be early detected, thereby lowering the treatment cost.

The panel consists of experts from the Medial University of Vienna, Danube University Krems and the Vienna branch of U.S. biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences.

It published a research report on Thursday, at the ongoing 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna, saying that the late diagnosis of HIV infection costs about five times as much as the early diagnosis.

According to statistics, about 10,000 HIV carriers currently live in Austria, of whom 25 percent were diagnosed after their immune systems against diseases had been severely damaged or accompanying diseases had appeared.

The research report also showed that the late detection of the HIV virus, usually in the terminal stage, in general relates to the lack of health care systems, especially the lack of the diagnosis system for the early stage of HIV development.

Statistics also show that the risks of more serious immunodeficiency, morbidity and death will be higher if HIV carriers are not treated for a long time. However, if they are diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, the risk of HIV- associated morbidity will be significantly reduced.

Currently, the international medical community generally recommended that the treatment of HIV-infected people should start when the symptoms of immunodeficiency appear or the amount of CD4- positive cells per cubic millimeter of blood is clinically confirmed to be less than 350. The normal content is 700 to 1,200.

The research report also showed that the treatment cost for an AIDS patient is around 21,166 euros, while the monitoring and treatment for an HIV carrier in the early stage only costs 4,329 euros, about 1/5 of the former.

To this end, experts pointed out, the early diagnosis and treatment of HIV carriers will produce better results with less efforts.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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