Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

29 February 2012

British HIV Association: Revised Guidelines for Antiretroviral Therapy

altThe British HIV Association (BHIVA) has issued revised guidelines for antiretroviral therapy (ART) for adults and for pregnant women and prevention of mother-to-child HIV prevention. Comments are currently being accepted.

ART for Adults
The draft for adults includes guidance on starting ART in treatment-naive patients, supporting people on treatment, and managing people who experience virological failure. The guidelines also cover special considerations for specific patient populations.

The guidelines are available on the BHIVA website, which features an online form for comments, and published in the January 2012 issue of HIV Medicine. The deadline for feedback is March 5, 2012.

As described in an overview by Aidsmap, the revised guidelines recommend that clinicians should discuss with all HIV positive patients the growing evidence that effective ART reduces the likelihood of HIV transmission to sexual partners. However, evidence to date -- for example, recent findings from study HPTN 052 showing a 96% risk reduction -- mainly concerns heterosexual couples having vaginal sex.

Patients should be informed of the prevention benefits of ART even if they do not yet need treatment for their own health because their CD4 T-cell count has not fallen below 350 cells/mm^3.

Unlike the latest U.S. guidelines -- which raised the treatment initiation level to 500 cells/mm^3 -- BHIVA kept the 350 cells/mm3 threshold for most patients, though people with certain coinfections and other risk factors (e.g., hepatitis B or C, HIV-related kidney disease or neurocognitive impairment) may benefit from starting sooner.

BHIVA came down in favor of tenofovir/emtricitabine (the drugs in the Truvada combination pill) as the favored dual nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) component of ART. U.S. guidelines also deem tenofovir/emtricitabine as the "preferred" NRTI combo, although the new European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) guidelines rank tenofovir/emtricitabine and abacavir/lamivudine (the drugs in Epzicom) as equals.

BHIVA and the U.S. panel both demoted abacavir due to concerns about lower effectiveness for people with high viral load and elevated cardiovascular risk; tenofovir, however, has been linked to kidney impairment. All guidelines authorities agree that individual risk factors should be taken into account when selecting antiretroviral drugs.

BHIVA lists drugs in 3 classes as preferred third agents: the NNRTI efavirenz (Sustiva), the boosted protease inhibitors atazanavir (Reyataz) or darunavir (Prezista), and the integrase inhibitor raltegravir (Isentress).

[Content that is linked from other sources is for informational purposes and should not construe a Mapping Pathways position.]

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