Health topics

Antiretroviral therapy


Use of antiretrovirals for treatment and prevention of HIV infection

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) consists of the combination of at least three antiretroviral drugs to maximally suppress the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). ART prevents both, the progression of HIV disease and transmission of the virus. Huge reductions in the rates of death and suffering when use is made of a potent treatment regimen, particularly in early stages of the disease. ART also has the potential to reduce the risk of HIV transmission and deaths in people who are co-infected with tuberculosis or hepatitis B.

WHO recommends to start ART in all adults, adolescents and children with HIV at any CD4 cell count or disease stage.

Based on data from the end of 2016, 813 000 people in the Western Pacific Region were receiving ART. This covers 55% of the people living with HIV in the Region.