The World Health Organization (WHO) has removed all limitations on eligibility for antiretroviral therapy (ART) in patients with HIV, shifting to a “treat-all” recommendation of ART as soon as possible after diagnosis. It has also broadened recommendations on the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to include additional population groups at significant HIV risk.

The expanded use of ART is supported by recent findings from clinical trials suggesting that early initiation of ART in HIV patients leads to improved health, reduced mortality, and a lower risk of transmitting the virus. This new recommendation increases the number of people eligible for antiretroviral treatment from 28 million to all 37 million people who currently live with HIV globally. WHO has also now broadened the recommended use of PrEP to other population groups at significant HIV risk (provisionally defined as HIV incidence greater than three per 100 person-years in the absence of PrEP).

RELATED: More Evidence for Daily PrEP in Curbing HIV Transmission

It is estimated that expanding ART to all people living with HIV and expanding prevention choices could help avert 21 million AIDS-related deaths and 28 million new infections by 2030. The new guideline emphasizes that for effective implementation of the recommendations, countries will need to ensure that testing and treatment for HIV infection are readily available and that those undergoing treatment are supported to adhere to recommended regimens and are retained in care.

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