New WHO guidelines on antiretroviral therapy and pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV infection
WHO has released new guidelines on antiretroviral therapy and pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV infection.
Two main recommendations will substantially improve prevention and treatment of HIV infection:
- People at high risk for HIV infection should take oral pre-exposure prophylaxis daily as part of combined prevention measures.
- Antiretroviral therapy (ART) should be initiated for everyone living with HIV, whatever their CD4 cell count.
The new guidelines are expected to have major implications in eastern Europe and central Asia, where the HIV epidemic continues to grow. Progress in ART coverage in these countries is very slow and is far below the 2015 European goal of 80% of those in need.
This, coupled with insufficient prevention, has contributed to a 122% increase in new HIV cases since 2004. HIV testing and counselling and early detection remain problematic, especially in at-risk populations, including people who inject drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men and sexual partners of populations at high risk. Insufficient funding for ART and HIV infection prevention and poor access to health services exacerbate the situation.
To make the best use of the new WHO guidelines, countries must adapt their national policies, raise funds and ensure that HIV testing and treatment and ART are readily available to those in need. People undergoing treatment should be supported in adhering to the recommended regimens for the necessary time to achieve successful treatment outcomes.