WHO issues new guidelines to make HIV treatment more effective | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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WHO issues new guidelines to make HIV treatment more effective

The World Health Organisation issued supplementary guidelines which aim to further curb the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

mumbai Updated: Dec 01, 2014 21:36 IST
HT Correspondent

The World Health Organisation (WHO) issued supplementary guidelines which aim to further curb the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

On the 26th World Aids Day on Monday, one of the recommendations was about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) or emergency infection prevention for those who may have been exposed to HIV accidentally.

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) involves taking anti-HIV medications as soon as possible after one may have been exposed to HIV to try to reduce the chance of becoming HIV positive. The medications keep the virus from making copies of itself and spreading through the body.

Earlier, the usage and administration criteria of the PEP drugs were different for the general public and for those working in healthcare sectors, who are at a higher risk.

The WHO has now urged countries to make no such differentiation.

“These guidelines consider all types of exposure. The same drug regimen should be prescribed irrespective of exposure source," said the WHO.

Another recommendation is on an affordable drug named cotrimoxazole prophylaxis, which is for those who are HIV positive and also have infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and other bacterial infections.

WHO said: “New evidence suggests that with effective scaling of anti-retroviral therapy (ART), cotrimoxazole prophylaxis has a broader benefit beyond preventing bacterial infections, thereby reducing mortality due to HIV.”

However, experts are unsure how the new guidelines are going to change the ground reality, especially when the existing guidelines have merely been tweaked.

“Agencies such as WHO and the joint United Nations programme on HIV and Aids (UNAIDS) keep coming up with recommendations and catchy lines every year to mark the World Aids Day. But, a lot depends on what is a happening on the ground,” said Dr I Gilada, an HIV expert.

“While we certainly have come a long way in checking HIV in the country, but a huge number has still not been tapped for the anti-retroviral therapy,” added Dr Gilada.

Dial for help

* National helpline number: 1097

* The National Aids Control Organisation in association with Piramal group launched the country’s first national Aids helpline on Monday. It offers service in eight regional languages.

* Those living with HIV and their relatives can call the helpline number for any queries and information on drugs, psychological counselling, dos and don’ts and treatment. Each state has its own Aids helpline number but this is the first national helpline number.