New ARV guidelines in force

Revised guidelines for antiretroviral therapy which include earlier treatment for HIV positive babies are now in force, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) said on Tuesday. 

It said the guidelines, published by the SA National Aids Council, came into effect last week. The guidelines phased out the use of stavudine (d4T) in favour of tenofovir, which had fewer side effects and required fewer treatment switches than d4T. 

They also allowed earlier treatment for pregnant women and people with HIV and TB, early treatment for HIV-positive infants, and improved regimens to prevent mother to child transmission. 

"This move will ensure that South Africa will have one million people on treatment by the end of June 2010," TAC said in a statement. The treatment should be available in all health facilities in South Africa that currently provided antiretroviral therapy. 

It said 5.3 million South Africans were HIV positive. In addition to the 900 000 already on treatment, there were one million people still in need of treatment. - (Sapa, April 2010)

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