(GENEVA, Switzerland) — The World Health Organization announced on Sunday that it is recommending earlier treatment for people who are HIV-positive.
According to WHO, if people in the developing world who are HIV-positive are given lifesaving drugs earlier it could potentially avert an additional 3 million deaths and prevent 3.5 million more new HIV infections by 2025.
A single pill combining three drugs would be given to those people much earlier, when their immune systems are still strong. Evidence shows that earlier treatment keeps patients healthier and lower the amount of virus in the blood, which in turn reduces the risk of spreading the virus to someone else.
“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.”
Implementation would add 10 per cent to the overall bill for treatment of HIV/AIDS in the developing world, but WHO is convinced the idea is cost effective in the long run.
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