2010 Guidelines: Antiretroviral Treatment
New guidance on the management of HIV infection has been rolled out by WHO to help Member States in refining their public health approach to earlier initiation of antiretroviral treatment (ART), review of eligibility criteria, and expanded use of more durable, less toxic and patient-friendly treatment regimens.
Antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection in adults and adolescents: recommendations for a public health approach (2010 revision) was released at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria in July 2010, after taking into account solid evidence on the benefits of ART in improving the quality of life of patients and curbing HIV-related deaths, as well as slowing the further spread of HIV at the community level.
One of the key recommendations of the new guidelines is to promote earlier treatment for patients with a CD4 count of ≤350 cells/mm3 regardless of symptoms, and for all people living with HIV with tuberculosis or hepatitis co-infections regardless of their CD4 count. The 2006 guidelines recommended ART initiation when a patient’s CD4 count dropped to ≤200 cells/mm3.
Significant evidence and experience show that early ART intervention can help people living with HIV to stay healthier and live longer. Estimates suggest that earlier treatment can reduce HIV-related mortality by 20% between 2010 and 2015, and prevent deaths arising from co-infection with tuberculosis, the number one killer of people living with HIV, by over 50%.