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Health Check - Early treatment for HIV

New research shows early treatment of patients reduces the risk of transmitting HIV virus and how a transplant scandal has shaken Germany's health system.

Early HIV treatment The right time to start treating HIV patients is a balance between benefits, risks and costs, and at the moment, most people are not treated until their immune system function has deteriorated by about half. However guidelines are constantly changing as new research is published. To address this pertinent issue, a new lengthy trial studied what happens when people start medication as soon as they are infected with HIV. The idea was to discover whether starting the drugs immediately delays life-long treatment and prevents damage to the immune system. Dr Sarah Fidler is a senior lecturer in Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London. German Transplant Scandal Three people die per day in Germany waiting for a donor organ and roughly 12,000 are on the waiting list, but these figures are expected to rise in the wake of a scandal that has deeply shaken the public’s faith in its health system. Investigations are underway in all of Germany’s 47 transplantation centres, and so far they have uncovered over 150 cases of organ transplant fraud where doctors have been faking their patient’s records to help them jump the waiting list. The investigations continue, but in the meantime donor figures have slumped and there are calls for the whole system to be changed. The BBC’s Germany reporter Abby d’Arcy finds out more. Hearing Loss and Cognitive Decline In the US 2000 older people were followed for six years while their hearing loss and memory and thinking skills were tested regularly. After recently discovering that people with a hearing problem can be two or three times more likely to develop dementia, researchers wanted to know whether hearing can affect everyone’s memory and thinking skills as they get older. The results are out and have just been published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Dr Frank Lin is Assistant Prof of Ear, Nose & Throat & Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University. Image: Blue tablets. Credit: Getty Images)

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