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WHO's New Guidelines on HIV Care Call for Earlier Treatment

The World Health Organization is now advising health care professionals to start patients with HIV on antiretroviral drugs earlier in the course of their infection, as part of new agency guidelines announced Monday.

The new recommendations will likely result in more patients worldwide obtaining treatment, based on their CD4 immune cells counts. Instead of a CD4 cell count of 200, the threshold which the WHO recommended in its 2006 guidelines for HIV treatment, a CD4 cell count at or below 350 should be the cutoff, the agency now advises. In practice, this shift would mean treating HIV-infected patients one or two years earlier. For patients with symptoms of HIV infection, such as weight loss, fever and frequent opportunistic infections, the WHO advises that treatment start immediately, regardless of CD4 count.
 
 

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