Treat pregnant HIV positive women earlier to prevent transmission, says WHO

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 02 December 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b5184
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

    The World Health Organization has issued new guidelines on treating HIV that call for earlier initiation of antiretroviral treatment for adults and adolescents and for prolonged use of the drugs to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus from mothers to children.

    WHO is now recommending that antiretroviral treatment be begun “at a higher CD4 threshold of 350 cells/mm3 for all HIV positive patients, including pregnant women, regardless of symptoms.” Previous guidelines issued in 2006 stipulated that all patients start antiretroviral treatment when their CD4 count fell to 200 cells per mm3 or lower.

    The agency also recommends that countries phase out the use of stavudine, also known as d4T, “because …

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