World AIDS Day 2014: closing the gap in HIV prevention and treatment

Dec. 1, 2014

Today is World AIDS Day, a time to reflect on the scourge that is Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, to remember those we have lost to it, to honor and thank the researchers and clinicians—and laboratorians—who have been on the front lines of the great battle since from the beginning, and to rededicate ourselves to finding increasingly effective treatments for HIV-AIDS.

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) is releasing new guidelines on providing antiretrovirals (ARVs) as an emergency prevention following HIV exposure, and on the use of the antibiotic co-trimoxazole to prevent HIV-related infections. The guidelines offer advice on providing ARVs as post-exposure prophylaxis for people who have been exposed to HIV, including health workers and survivors of rape.

In 2013, the WHO published consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretrovirals that promote earlier, simpler and less toxic interventions to keep people healthier for longer and to help prevent HIV transmission. A growing number of countries with a high burden of HIV have adopted these guidelines. In 2013, a record 13 million people were able to access life-saving ARVs.

According to the WHO, “World AIDS Day 2014, 1 December, is an opportunity to harness the power of social change to put people first and close the access gap. Ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 is possible, but only by closing the gap between people who have access to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support services and people who are being left behind. Closing the gap means empowering and enabling all people, everywhere, to access the services they need.” Download a PDF of the new WHO guidelines.

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