The objectives of these guidelines are to provide recommendations outlining a public health approach to managing people presenting with advanced HIV disease, and to provide guidance on the timing of initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for all people living with HIV.
The first set of recommendations addresses the specific needs of people with advanced HIV disease and defines a package of interventions aimed at reducing HIV-associated morbidity and mortality. WHO recommends that a package of screening, prophylaxis, rapid ART initiation and intensified adherence interventions be offered to everyone living with HIV presenting with advanced disease. This is a strong recommendation that applies to all populations and age groups. The guidelines also include an algorithm to support decision making for providing care for people with advanced HIV disease.
The second set of recommendations defines how rapidly ART should be initiated within the context of the “treat all” policy, especially when coinfections are present. WHO strongly recommends that rapid ART initiation should be offered to people living with HIV following confirmed diagnosis and clinical assessment. Rapid initiation of ART is defined as within seven days of HIV diagnosis. WHO further strongly recommends ART initiation on the same day as HIV diagnosis based on the person’s willingness and readiness to start ART immediately, unless there are clinical reasons to delay treatment. Both of these recommendations apply to all populations and age groups. People with advanced HIV disease should be given priority for clinical assessment and treatment initiation.