UNAIDS welcomes evidence that starting ART early saves lives

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UNAIDS welcomes additional evidence that starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) at a higher CD4 level has a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV.

‘Every person living with HIV should have immediate access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy,’ said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. ‘Delaying access to HIV treatment under any pretext is denying the right to health.’

The National Institutes of Health-funded international randomised clinical trial START (Strategic Timing of Antiretroviral Treatment) has found evidence that the benefits of immediately starting ART outweigh the risks.

The START announcement follows a series of research findings over the past several years indicating the health benefits of starting HIV treatment earlier. The findings from these studies will play an important role in shaping the new treatment guidance from the World Health Organization due to be released later in 2015.

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