NEW YORK, June 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines that will greatly expand the number of people eligible for antiretroviral (ARV) treatment around the world are critical and must be implemented with comprehensive programs to curb new HIV infections in order to stay on the road to ending AIDS, AVAC said today.
"These guidelines are a landmark in the fight against AIDS," said Mitchell Warren, AVAC executive director. "But guidelines alone don't save lives – money, pills and smart programs save lives. Investment and effective implementation will be critical."
"Expanding HIV treatment is a global imperative, but it can't be done in isolation," Warren added. "To reach the tipping point against AIDS, we need to dramatically slow new HIV infections. The prevention benefits of treatment will get us part of the way there, but not all the way. We have to scale up every prevention option we have, including male circumcision, PrEP, male and female condoms and clean injecting equipment, while pressing ahead in the development of microbicides, vaccines and other new prevention strategies."
"Different people need different options. While these guidelines are based on a broad range of evidence, earlier HIV treatment may not be right for everyone. Individuals must make their own choices about when they are ready to start HIV therapy," Warren said.
AVAC, together with amfAR, has called on policymakers, funders, governments and civil society to achieve a "tipping point" in the global AIDS epidemic, at which the rate of treatment initiation (expansion of people gaining access to treatment) exceeds the number of people becoming newly infected. This goal and other long-term shifts in rates of new HIV infections and deaths are only possible with a surge of investment and implementation in the short-term. AVAC urges immediate action on this critical issue. With aggressive investment, a tipping point could be reached in a number of countries in the next three years. For more, visit www.endingaids.org.