WHO publishes testing recommendations for HIV

March 18, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) released guidelines on the use of point-of-care (POC) nucleic acid testing in children under 18 months in addition to other testing and treatment recommendations, according to a news release.

“New recommendations launched today outline key new actions that countries can take to improve the delivery of HIV testing, treatment and care services by providing greater options for differentiated approaches such as, supporting HIV treatment start in the community, ensuring that children are diagnosed and treated early, and that viral load treatment monitoring is more accessible, focused and triggers clinical action,” the WHO said.

In addition to testing young children and infants, the recommendations also include a treatment monitoring algorithm, and information on the timing of antiretroviral therapy (ART) among people living with HIV who are being treated for tuberculosis.

The WHO guidelines recommend that providers initiate ART as soon as possible within two weeks of starting TB treatment, regardless of CD4 cell count, for adults, adolescents, children and infants living with HIV.

The WHO also POC viral load testing may be used to monitor treatment among people living with HIV receiving ART.

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