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WHO To Recommend Earlier HIV Drugs
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New guidelines for HIV treatment could see millions more people in developing countries getting life-saving medicine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending that patients start taking medication at a much earlier stage of the disease.

The WHO says the guidelines, which are being launched at an international Aids conference in Kuala Lumpur, could help avert an extra 3m Aids deaths by 2025.

The charity MSF welcomed the move - but said extra investment would be needed.

A single pill combining three drugs will be given to people who are HIV positive much earlier, while their immune systems are still strong. Algeria, Argentina and Brazil are already doing this.

Not everybody who needs the medicine currently receives it, although big strides have been made in recent years in widening access to HIV treatment.

The WHO says these guidelines represent a "major shift" in policy, and will result in the number of people in developing countries who are eligible for drug treatment rising from 16m to 26m, or 80% of the total who are thought to have HIV.

It is thought the guidelines will add 10% to the $23bn (£15bn) overall cost of treating HIV/AIDS in developing countries.

WHO believes global donors and the affected countries themselves will be convinced that the idea is cost-effective.

It 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.
Source: BBC

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