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WHO To Recommend Early Start Of Treatment In HIV/AIDS Patients
WHO To Recommend Early Start Of Treatment In HIV/AIDS Patients

The world health organization (WHO) is lobbying for patients to start  treatment as early as possible.

The organization says the guidelines, which are being launched at an international Aids conference in Kuala Lumpur, could help prevent extra more than 2 million  Aids deaths by 2025.

A single pill combining three drugs will replace a cocktail of drugs, will be  given to people who are HIV positive much earlier and while their CD 4 counts are still reasonably higher and  their immune systems are still strong. Algeria, Argentina, South Africa and Brazil are already doing this.

The proposed guide line will increase the current HIV/AIDS treatment budget by 10%, says WHO, but the organization is convinced that this is for greater good and donors and affected countries will see reasoning and agree that this is very cost effective.

The WHO's HIV/Aids director, Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, said: "It will be very difficult to end Aids without a vaccine - but these new guidelines will take us a long way in reducing deaths.

"We're recommending earlier treatment - and also safer, simpler medicines that are already widely available.

"We also want to see better monitoring of patients, so they can see how well they're doing on the treatment.

"This is not only about keeping people healthy and alive - the anti-retroviral drugs block transmission, so there is the potential for a major impact in preventing epidemics within different countries."

Among other things WHO is recommending is to encourage countries to use their own money and facilities to fight HV/AIDS and also to start giving treatment to children under the age of 5, all HIV-positive pregnant and breastfeeding women and to people whose partner is uninfected.

In all of these cases, treatment would start regardless of how far the condition has damaged their immune system.

The Global Fund - set up to fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria - welcomed the guidelines as "very timely".

MSF (Medicines Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders) warned extra political and financial support would be needed for implementing the recommendations, which it said were "ambitious but feasible".

MSF medical co-coordinator in South Africa Dr Gilles van Cutsem said: "With these new guidelines our collective goal should now be to scale up without messing up: to reach more people, retain them on treatment, and with an undetectable viral load.


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