- The World Health Organization has announced anyone infected with HIV should begin antiretroviral treatment (ART) as soon after diagnosis as possible.
- With this recommendation, WHO removes any limitations on ART eligibility where all populations and age groups are now eligible for such treatment, increasing from 28 million to all 37 million individuals who currently live with HIV globally.
- Expanding ART in such a manner can help avert 21 million AIDS-related deaths and 28 million new infections by 2030, according to a prepared statement from WHO.
According to the release, expanding ART access is at the core of a new set of targets for 2020 with the aim to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
These targets include 90% of people living with HIV being aware of their HIV infection, 90% of those receiving ART, and 90% of people on ART having no detectable virus in their blood.
WHO now also recommends people at "substantial" risk of HIV should be offered preventive ART, building on 2014 WHO guidance to offer a combination of antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV acquisition, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), for men who have sex with men.
Following further evidence of the effectiveness and acceptability of PrEP, WHO has now broadened this recommendation to support the offer of PrEP to other population groups at significant HIV risk.