Across Europe, almost one-third of individuals infected with

Across Europe, almost one-third of individuals infected with

HIV do ROCK inhibitor not enter health care until late in the course of their infection [1,2]. Despite attempts to encourage earlier testing for HIV, this situation has remained stationary for several years without evidence of improvement. Late presentation for care is harmful to the infected person [3–5] is more costly [6] and is harmful to society [7]. Surveillance to identify the extent to which late presentation occurs is therefore crucial and remains inadequate across Europe, and is further complicated by the lack of a common clinical definition of late presentation. In untreated HIV-infected persons, the risk of developing an AIDS-defining condition increases exponentially as the CD4

cell count drops, being particularly high in those with a CD4 count <200 cells/μL [8,9]. The longer therapy is delayed when clinically indicated, the poorer the patient outcome [10]. Recent guidelines [from the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS), World Health Organization (WHO) Europe, International AIDS Society (IAS) and British HIV Association (BHIVA)] advocate antiretroviral therapy (ART) for all untreated persons with a CD4 count <350 cells/μL, and for some patient groups with a higher CD4 cell count [11–15]. Recently, it has been suggested that HIV may also accelerate the course of various end-organ diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, renal disease and liver disease, and check details may increase the risk of contracting non-AIDS-defining malignancies [16,17]. This suggestion was initially supported by data from the SMART trial, which found that those interrupting ART had higher rates of these diseases than those Clostridium perfringens alpha toxin who remained on ART, but a strong link between the CD4 cell count and many non-AIDS diseases has also been seen in several observational studies [17]. These diseases are more common than AIDS diseases at CD4 counts higher than 350 cells/μl [18]. In the literature,

more than 20 different definitions have been cited for a late presenter [19]. A common definition would be helpful to more effectively manage late presentation of HIV disease across Europe and elsewhere. It would also facilitate cross-country or regional comparisons, and allow investigation of temporal trends after targeted interventions. Of note, health policy is a European Union (EU) member-state matter and not defined at the EU level; this in part explains why divergent definitions have emerged in various countries across Europe. Over the past year, two initiatives have moved towards a harmonized definition. In spring 2009, they joined efforts to identify a common definition of what is meant by a ‘late-presenting’ patient. The ‘Late presentation for HIV treatment in Europe’ programme was initiated in November 2008 in Glasgow and culminated in March 2009 with a 2-day meeting on the challenges of late presentation for HIV treatment in Europe.

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