Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

New WHO Guidelines Call for Earlier HIV Treatment

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

New WHO Guidelines Call for Earlier HIV Treatment

Article excerpt

WHO issued new HIV recommendations calling for patients to be offered antiretroviral therapy (ART) at an early stage of their illness, based on recent evidence that this helps people with HIV to live longer, healthier lives, while substantially reducing the risk of transmitting HIV.

The new WHO recommendations encourage countries to initiate treatment in adults living with HIV when their CD4 cell count falls to 500 cells/[mm.sup.3] or less--when their immune systems are still strong.

The previous WHO recommendation, set in 2010, was to offer treatment at 350 CD4 cells/[mm.sup.3] or less. For some groups, such as children living with HIV under 5 years, HIV-positive pregnant women, and people co-infected with tuberculosis or hepatitis B, WHO now recommends ART regardless of CD4 count. New recommendations will increase total global eligibility for ART from currently 17 to 26 million people.

The new recommendations are presented in a document entitled Consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection, released together with the Global HIV Treatment 2013 Update showing that a total of 9. …

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