World Health Organization to recommend earlier HIV drugs
SEE ALSO :Governor Sonko sues Star over HIV storyIt agreed the policy after a year-long consultation, in which evidence about the role earlier treatment can play in reducing transmission of the virus was considered. 'Safer, simpler medicines' 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.
SEE ALSO :No ARV shortage, assures ministryDr Hirnschall added: "We are still seeing young children lagging behind in terms of access to treatment. Two-thirds of adults that need anti-retroviral drugs get them, but only a third of young children." 'Ambitious but feasible' The Global Fund - set up to fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria - welcomed the guidelines as "very timely". Its executive director, Dr Mark Dybul, said: "This is an example of how the Global Fund and the WHO work together to support countries as we move towards removing HIV as a threat to public health." MSF (Medecins 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-ordinator 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. "There's no greater motivating factor for people to stick to their HIV treatment than knowing the virus is 'undetectable' in their blood." Paul Ward, deputy chief executive at the UK's Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "These guidelines have implications for the UK and would expand the number of people eligible for HIV treatment. "Using treatment to reduce transmission is a key part of modern prevention efforts, including our own. "In the UK, we have some of the best treatments in the world, and offering them earlier could be one way of slowing the spread of the epidemic. It could also improve the person's own long-term health." - BBC
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