WHO removed all limitations on eligibility for Antiretroviral Therapy among HIV infected people

Oct 1, 2015 11:34 IST

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in its Treat-All recommendation made on 30 September 2015 removed all the limitations on eligibility for Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) among people living with HIV. With this, all populations and age groups will now eligible for treatment.

The expanded use of antiretroviral treatment is supported by recent findings from clinical trials confirming that early use of ART keeps people living with HIV alive, healthier and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to partners.

The recommendations were developed as part of a comprehensive update of the WHO consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for preventing and treating HIV infection. This new recommendation follows up the 2014 WHO guidance that offered a combination of antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV acquisition, Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), for men who have sex with men.

Following further evidence of the effectiveness and acceptability of PrEP, WHO has now broadened this recommendation to support the offer of PrEP to other population groups at significant HIV risk.

PrEP will now be an additional prevention choice based on a comprehensive package of services, including HIV testing, counselling and support and access to condoms and safe injection equipment.

Based on the new recommendations, the number of people eligible for antiretroviral treatment will increase from 28 million to all 37 million people who currently live with HIV globally.

Future prospects of this change in the HIV policy
Expanding access to treatment is at the heart of a new set of targets for 2020 with the aim to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. These targets include 90 percent of people living with HIV being aware of their HIV infection, 90 percent of those receiving antiretroviral treatment, and 90 percent of people on ART having no detectable virus in their blood.

This change in the Global HIV policy could help avert more than 21 million deaths and 28 million new infections by 2030.

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