a new title to our series of illustrated leaflets. Called Very recent infection, the leaflet covers key information for someone who has
recently been infected with HIV, a stage sometimes called ‘primary’ or ‘acute’
period, which may include a short ‘seroconversion’ illness, viral load is high
and there is a greater risk of passing on HIV. Being diagnosed at this point
can affect decisions about taking HIV treatment. It can be a confusing and
stressful time for those involved.
In order to
develop this resource, we worked in partnership with the clinicians and
researchers behind the SPARTAC trial, as well as with other HIV
professionals and people living with HIV.
The SPARTAC trial
short for ‘short pulse antiretroviral therapy at HIV seroconversion’. The
SPARTAC trial was set up to investigate whether taking HIV treatment for a
short time, soon after infection, would slow down the damage caused by HIV. If
the immune system was protected at this early stage, it might mean that
starting long-term HIV treatment could be delayed.
ran from 2003 to 2011, in eight countries, and studied 366 people, monitoring
each person for at least three years. Full results of the trial will be
published in a peer-reviewed journal soon, but initial findings were presented at
the International AIDS Society conference in Rome last year.
results were also important in shaping the latest British HIV Association (BHIVA)
which outline the circumstances in which treatment is indicated for a person
diagnosed during primary infection.
team were keen to communicate the findings of their research to people who
could benefit from practical, usable information on recent infection. As people
sometimes feel overwhelmed by the information they are given soon after
diagnosis, the simple format of our ‘Basics’ illustrated leaflets was felt to
be an appropriate medium to use.
Making decisions about HIV treatment
everyone needs to take HIV treatment straightaway but, in certain
circumstances, treatment may be recommended for people who have only recently
been infected. It is important that people living with HIV and their doctors
work together to make decisions about starting treatment. This resource,
together with others in the series, is designed to support
conversations about treatment and living well with HIV.
We’d like to thank
We are very
grateful to Dr Sarah Fidler of SPARTAC and Imperial College London for her
support in developing this resource. We would also like to thank Agnes Becker,
Dr Roger Tatoud, Scott Mullanney, Dr Martin Fisher, Dr Julie Fox and Dr Sabine
Kinloch of SPARTAC for their help. Thanks also to the HIV professionals and
people living with HIV who provided feedback that shaped this resource,
including Rob, Martin, Colin, Positive Health (Lincolnshire), Justin Dickson and service
users at Terrence Higgins Trust.
For more information
more detailed information on the SPARTAC trial on the Imperial College London
website. Visit: www.imperial.ac.uk/medicine/spartac
view or download the Very recent infection leaflet, and all the other titles in The basics
series from our
resources pages at www.aidsmap.com/resources
is available in print, so if you would like a print copy, do get in touch. If
you work in an HIV clinic or organisation in the UK,
you can also join our free booklet scheme. Through the scheme you can order
multiple copies of our booklets and basics. Contact us on 020 3242 0820 or email@example.com to find out more.