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Evolving views and practices of antiretroviral treatment prescribers in Australia

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The most recent Australian HIV clinical treatment guidelines support early antiretroviral treatment (ART) initiation, whereby asymptomatic patients should start treatment once their CD4+ cell count approaches 500 cells/mm3 or even earlier.1 This is consistent with a global movement based on emerging evidence and growing expert consensus that early initiation of ART has clear clinical benefits to individual patients and a potentially important population effect in reducing HIV transmission to patients’ uninfected sexual partners.2,3 Compared with earlier regimens, current ART regimens are less toxic, have simpler dosing requirements and lower pill burdens, and do not generally require as high a degree of drug adherence to achieve viral suppression.3 These developments have influenced policy regulation, resource allocation and ART initiation practices in Australia4,5 and other high-income countries.6,7

There is a paucity of research on prescriber characteristics relating to ART initiation practices. In some of the few studies that have been conducted, prescribers’ knowledge about ART guideline…