WHO issues new guideline; Treat all people living with HIV.
Anyone infected with HIV should begin antiretroviral treatment as soon after diagnosis as possible, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) announced yesterday, as it issued new guidelines that could help avert more than 21 million deaths and 28 million new infections by 2030.
WHO endorsed antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for all 37 million HIV-infected people around the world. Previous guidelines called for only treating the estimated 28 million HIV-infected people who have fewer than 500 CD4 lymphocytes per microliter of blood. (The normal range is 600 to 1200.)
The new guidelines also call for offering the drugs to prevent HIV infection—so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP—to all people at “substantial risk” of infection.
Currently, only 15 million HIV-infected people are receiving antiretrovirals. But in rich countries, it’s becoming more and more common to start therapy early, before a patient’s CD4 cells have had significant declines. Large studies have shown that early treatment benefits HIV-infected people and, separately, that ARVs dramatically reduce the risk of transmission. Several PrEP studies similarly have shown that ARVs protect uninfected people regardless of the route of transmission.
Read more on the new guidelines here