New York Times (12.01.11) - Friday, December 02, 2011
Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley is recommending that New
York City doctors begin treating HIV as soon as a patient is
diagnosed with the infection. This change in city policy is
being driven by new research showing that early treatment
leads to longer, healthier lives and a 96 percent lower risk
of transmission, he said.
"I am more optimistic than ever that we can really drive down
rates of infection, and that we may ultimately see the end of
this epidemic," Farley said in a briefing sent to health care
providers on Thursday, World AIDS Day.
Farley's proposal is similar to one adopted by San Francisco
in 2010. There, doctors began prescribing early treatment even
before city leaders put forth guidelines, and many providers
in New York are likely doing the same, said Dr. Moupali Das,
director of research in the San Francisco health department's
HIV prevention section.
Roughly 110,000 New Yorkers are known to have HIV; among those
tracked by the health department, 83 percent are receiving
Charles King, president of the advocacy group Housing Works,
questions whether the science supports such an aggressive
treatment policy. He noted that many poor patients delay
treatment because once the disease progresses to AIDS, they
are eligible for specific housing and nutritional benefits.