16 Dec 2009

WHO releases new and improved ART Guidelines

Key recommendations of people living with HIV have been included in the new WHO Guidelines for Anti Retroviral Therapy. During summer 2009, people living with HIV participated in consultations to develop recommendations for the revision of the WHO’s ‘Recommendations for Antiretroviral Therapy for HIV Infection in Adults and Adolescents’ (WHO ART Guidelines). The reports from the GNP+ consultations are available here.

The revised WHO ART Guidelines were released on 30 November, providing new recommendations on treatment, prevention and infant feeding in the context of low- and middle-income countries. GNP+ is pleased to see that the revised guidelines reflect several of the key recommendations put forward by GNP+, ITPC, ICW and Young Positives following our consultative processes.

Most noteworthy is the revised recommendation on earlier initiation of antiretroviral therapy, which is now in line with most high-income country guidelines: commencing at a CD4 count of 350 (up from 200). Additionally, the latest WHO ART Guidelines recommend the replacement of the difficult-to-tolerate drug, d4T (stavudine), with either TDF (tenofovir) or AZT (zidovudine). The complete guidelines, entitled ‘Rapid advice: antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection in adults and adolescents’ can be found here.

They also include updated recommendations on treatment for women to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and on infant feeding. One of the implications of the new recommendations is that more people living with HIV are now eligible to start treatment, reinforcing our continued need to advocate for universal access to HIV treatment, prevention, support and care.

The participation of people living with HIV in this summer’s consultation processes helped inform our advocacy for new and improved WHO ART Guidelines that are not only based on the latest scientific evidence but also on the needs of people living with HIV.

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