New HIV guidelines could avert 3 million deaths

News article 2 Jul 2013

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released new HIV treatment guidelines recommending offering antiretroviral therapy (ART) earlier. A move that WHO believe “could avert an additional 3 million deaths and prevent 3.5 million more new HIV infections between now and 2025.” Following recent evidence that ART is making people with HIV healthier and live longer, while substantially reducing the risk of transmitting HIV to others.

Entitled "Consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection", the new guidelines for HIV treatment were launched yesterday at the International Aids conference in Kuala Lumpur and could see millions more people in developing countries getting life-saving medicine.

LSTM’s Dr Miriam Taegtmeyer was a core member of the guideline development group for the Operational and Service delivery section in recognition the importance of HIV testing and counselling scale up in expanding access to treatment. Dr Taegtmeyer said “Unlike previous HIV guidelines, the new update goes beyond clinical recommendations (What to do?) to include operational (How to do?) and programmatic (How to decide what to do and where) recommendations to provide comprehensive guidance to national programme managers and policymakers. Another key feature of the guidelines target all age groups and populations.“

“These guidelines represent another leap ahead in a trend of ever-higher goals and ever-greater achievements,” says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. “With nearly 10 million people now on antiretroviral therapy, we see that such prospects – unthinkable just a few years ago – can now fuel the momentum needed to push the HIV epidemic into irreversible decline.”