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Preventive Health Care for Adults With HIV Infection

John F. Jewett, MD, MPH; Frederick M. Hecht, MD
JAMA. 1993;269(9):1144-1153. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500090080037.
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Objective.  —To assess the level of evidence for preventive health interventions for adults with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

Data Sources.  —A MEDLINE literature search for each intervention, supplemented by reviewing conference proceedings and the recommendations of experts.

Study Selection.  —English-language studies of interventions that contribute to one of the following goals were reviewed: (1) prevention of complications of HIV infection; (2) early detection of complications, before symptoms develop, at a stage in which early treatment could lead to improved outcome; (3) slowing of HIV disease progression; (4) reduction in the risk of transmission of infectious agents, such as HIV itself; and (5) prevention of psychological distress and improvement in the quality of life.

Data Extraction.  —The importance of interventions and quality of supporting evidence were evaluated using criteria modified from the US Preventive Services Task Force.

Data Synthesis.  —Existing evidence strongly supports the efficacy of some preventive measures: primary and secondary Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia prophylaxis; secondary prophylaxis of Cryptococcus, Toxoplasma, and cytomegalovirus infections; tuberculin testing, with chemotherapy for individuals with positive test results; syphilis screening; Papanicolaou tests; educational measures to reduce the transmission of HIV and other infections; T-lymphocyte monitoring; and antiretroviral therapy in selected patients. Recommended measures of possible, but less certain, effectiveness include vaccines to prevent influenza, Haemophilus influenzae, pneumococcal, and hepatitis B infections; prophylaxis for recurrent esophageal and vaginal candidiasis; primary prophylaxis of Mycobacterium avium complex; tuberculosis prophylaxis for anergic, high-risk individuals; routine physical examination; screening for gonorrhea and Chlamydia in high-risk women; monitoring Toxoplasma titers, complete blood cell counts, and serum chemistry values; attempting to maintain weight through nutritional interventions; and exercise. Mental health and substance abuse interventions are probably very important, but documentation of their benefits is limited. Some measures require further study before they can routinely be recommended, including vitamin and mineral supplementation; specific nutritional diets; and laboratory tests, other than CD4 counts, for monitoring disease progression.

Conclusions.  —Persons with HIV infection have different stage-specific health maintenance needs that form an important part of comprehensive care for people in all stages of infection.(JAMA. 1993;269:1144-1153)


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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