(Mirror Daily, United States) – The World Health Organization (WHO) recently said that all individuals living with HIV should be administered anti-retroviral drugs immediately after diagnosis. That would mean that roughly 37 million people around the globe should be on treatment.
According to recent clinical trials, providing early drug treatment for those with the AIDS-causing virus is proved to extend the lifespan and reduce the risk of transmitting the disease to partners. These findings were revealed by the WHO with the setting of the new goal for its 194 member states.
Before this update, the WHO guidelines specified that treatment should be limited to the approximately 28 million people whose immune cell counts had dropped below a certain threshold. But WHO is now asking that all patients at “substantial” risk of contracting HIV should also be administered anti-retroviral therapy (ART).
The new recommendations are part of the United Nations agency’s goal of putting an end to the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, is a strong supporter of the updated guidelines, explaining that all people living with HIV should have the right to life-saving treatment.
UNAIDS has predicted that making ART available to all people with HIV positive would expand prevention choices, which in turn would avert “21 million AIDS-related deaths and 28 million new infections by 2030.”
It’s expected that the move will drive a dramatic increase in demand for ART medicines, which usually come in a triple-drug cocktail designed to lower the risk of the virus developing resistance. Besides many Indian generic manufacturers that provide HIV drugs, there are the brand names, such as Gilead Sciences or ViiV Healthcare, and others provided by GlaxoSmithKline.
Doctors Without Borders, the medical charity organization, has applauded the “treat-all” plan, hoping that many of the HIV-positive people living in poorer countries will be prevented from being overlooked in the treatment plans.
According to the charity, almost a third of the people diagnosed with HIV never come back to the clinic if they are not eligible to start treatment immediately. At the same time, it is important for donors and governments to be aware that implementing the new recommendation will require significantly increased financial support.
Ever since it started spreading 30 years ago, AIDS has taken a great toll of roughly 40 million people worldwide. The end of the disease cannot come soon enough.
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