is reported on by the LA Times:
HIV can be deadly even before CD4 counts fall
An infection by the virus that causes AIDS can increase risk of premature death even before the immune system has deteriorated to the point where most physicians begin antiviral therapy, British researchers reported Thursday. The finding suggests that treatment should start even earlier than it is now and supports the current plans of world bodies to begin treating HIV infections in the developing world earlier.
The most common marker of an HIV infection is the level of an immune cell called CD4 that is the target of the virus. In a healthy individual, CD4 levels are generally over 500 cells per cubic millimeter and can go as high as 1,500. A level below 200 sharply increases the risk of the infections and other illnesses that are the markers for full-blown AIDS. Most physicians in the industrial world now begin treatment when a patient's CD4 levels fall below 350. In the developing world — at least in part because of the shortage of resources — treatment has generally begun when the level falls to 200, but UNAIDS announced last week that it would now begin treatment at 350.