Standard antiretroviral therapy (ART) consists of the combination of at least three antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease. Huge reductions have been seen in rates of death and suffering when use is made of a potent ARV regimen, particularly in early stages of the disease.
Furthermore, expanded access to ART can also reduce the HIV transmission at population level, impact orphanhood and preserve families.
In 2011, an estimated 34 million people were living with HIV.
WHO and UNAIDS estimate that at least 15 million people were in need of antiretroviral therapy in 2011. As of the end of 2011, over 8 million people had access to ART in low- and middle-income countries. WHO is providing countries with ongoing guidance, tools and support in delivering and scaling up ART within a public health approach.
In 2010, WHO and UNAIDS launched the Treatment 2.0 strategy, which promotes radical simplification of ART, with accelerated treatment scale-up and full integration with prevention, in order to reach Universal Access. WHO is working to release a revised guidelines on the use of antiretrovirals in 2013, which will include recommendations on ART for adults and adolescents.
Currently, WHO is working to develop revised guidelines on the use of ARVs to be launched in 2013 and these guidelines will include recommendations on ART for adults and adolescents.