When to Start Antiretroviral Therapy

When to start antiretroviral therapy picture

Key Points to remember 

  • Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the use of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection. ART is recommended for everyone who has HIV. ART helps people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and reduces the risk of HIV transmission.
  • People with HIV should start ART as soon as possible. In people with HIV who have the following conditions, it's especially important to start ART right away: pregnancy, AIDS, certain HIV-related illnesses and coinfections, and early HIV infection. (Early HIV infection is the period up to 6 months after infection with HIV.)
  • Before starting ART, people with HIV should discuss the importance of medication adherence—taking HIV medicines every day and exactly as prescribed—with their health care provider.

What conditions increase the urgency to start ART?

The following conditions increase the urgency to start ART:

  • Pregnancy -All pregnant women with HIV should take HIV medicines to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
  • AIDS or WHO Clinical stage
  • Certain HIV-related illnesses and coinfections
  • Early HIV infection



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