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CDC urges early treatment for patients with HIV

TAIPEI -- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) called on people with HIV infections to seek treatment early on, citing statistics that more than one-third of HIV patients develop AIDS within a year.

“AIDS is considered a chronic disease,” CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang said.

He noted that since Taiwan began using AIDS cocktail therapy in 1997, health authorities have treated a 90-year-old patient, whose long life Chuang attributed to regular medication to control the deadly condition.

Between 34 and 36 percent of HIV infections develop into full-blown AIDS within a year, Chuang said, listing statistics.

In 2013, 2,292 people were confirmed infected with HIV, out of which 757 developed AIDS in the same year. More than half of them — 463 people — were aged 15-34.

AIDS has also become one of the top 10 causes of death among Taiwan's youth after seven young people died of the disease in 2012.

The CDC calculated delaying medical treatment for an HIV infection raises the five-year mortality rate up to 25 percent — 2.8 times of the five-year mortality rate of patients who sought medical attention immediately.

By seeking professional help and receiving regular treatment, patients can succeed in turning AIDS into a chronic disease rather than an acute one, the CDC said.

Statistics showed that as of the end of 2013, 14,983 HIV-infected patients were on regular medication, and in 80 percent of those patients, the virus was undetectable.

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