The average CD4 count of HIV-positive sub-Saharan Africans upon diagnosis or starting treatment has not risen over the past decade, indicating an overall failure to detect and treat the virus earlier in the course of HIV disease, aidsmap reports. Publishing their findings in Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers examined data on CD4 counts at diagnosis of HIV and upon beginning antiretrovirals among 127 studies of more than half a million sub-Saharan African participants between 2002 and 2012.

In 2002, the average CD4 count at HIV diagnosis was 250, a figure that rose to 309 in 2012. However, the rise was not statistically significant, meaning it could have occurred by chance. In 2002, the average CD4 at the start of treatment was 152, a figure that dropped to 140 in 2012. The fall was not statistically significant.

One bright note was that when pregnant women were given HIV treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus, the respective CD4 counts at diagnosis and the beginning of treatment were 395 and 313.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.

To read the Clinical Infectious Diseases abstract, click here.