Trial demonstrates that a human rights perspective to treatment for all people living
with HIV is now necessary
12 Jun 2015 - As the World Health Organisation (WHO) gathers to discuss the 2015
guidelines for antiretroviral medicines, the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) hails
the results of the START (Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment) trial, which has indicated that
a new epoch for approaches to HIV treatment has dawned.
“The results show unequivocally that universal access to treatment for all people living with HIV at
diagnosis who want it, regardless of their CD4 count, is a right to health. There is no ethical reason
now not to make treatment accessible to all,” said Suzette Moses-Burton, Executive Director of GNP+.
Just as existing treatment targets are based around the seminal results of the HPTN 052 study, which
led to a public health Treatment as Prevention approach, the START trial highlights the health benefits
of early treatment for all people living with HIV. GNP+ calls on global health officials to heed the
message of the trial as the WHO 2015 antiretroviral guidelines development group convenes and
debates what the new guidelines should include.
“As target-setting debates around the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals continue, the community
of people living with HIV shouldn't collude in austerity arguments of resource allocation, and public
health arguments about prioritising some people over others. To make the end of AIDS a reality we
need treatment to be accessible and affordable for all those who need and choose to start
treatment,” said Suzette Moses-Burton.
However, the availability of treatment comes with some caveats. It is crucial that treatment is of
the best quality, accessible and available, that some of the root causes of interrupted treatment
such as drug stock outs are tackled, and that freedom to choose when to take treatment remains
a core value. Finally, we need to dispel existing fears that treatment is for those who are
already sick by increasing the treatment literacy amongst communities. People living with
HIV should understand that high quality treatment is less toxic than HIV, and that it
is never too early to start treatment from a health point of view.
Edwin J. Bernard, Co-ordinator of the HIV Justice Network, points out that treatment for all will only
be effective in the context of tackling a range of other issues for people living with HIV: “If we
don't also take action on reducing stigma for people living with HIV and decriminalisation of
populations living with HIV, particularly men who have sex with men, sex workers and people
who use drugs, then the full rights of people living with HIV, as articulated in
the Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention Framework, will never be realized.”
Source: The Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+)
The Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+)
The Global Network of People Living With HIV (GNP+) is the global network for and by people living with HIV. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV. The vision is a powerful and united worldwide social movement of people living with HIV, with their leadership and voices at the centre of the HIV response. GNP+'s objective is equitable access to health and social services for people living with HIV by focusing on social justice, rights and involvement. This will be achieved through GNP's purpose, which is to promote the greater and more meaningful involvement of people living with HIV in programme and policy development (the GIPA principle). For more information, please visit www.gnpplus.net. You can also connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
"Reproduced with permission - Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+)"
Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+)
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