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PPHG Cochrane Group Provides Input for New WHO Guidelines

May 3, 2012

The Cochrane HIV/AIDS Group based at PPHG was closely involved in developing new World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines, released April 18, on HIV testing and counseling for couples, including antiretroviral therapy for treatment and prevention of HIV in serodiscordant couples. The group, led by PPHG Director George Rutherford, prepared several comprehensive systematic reviews to gather and synthesize the evidence, and participated in the global consensus meeting and writing up the guidelines document.

The new guidelines encourage couples to go together for HIV testing to ascertain their status. “By encouraging couples to test together, we can provide comprehensive options for HIV prevention and treatment that they can discuss and manage jointly,” the Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Michel Sidibé, said in a news release. The guidelines also recommend that antiretroviral therapy (ART) be offered to HIV-positive individuals in discordant relationships even when they do not require it for their own health. The document relies heavily on data and experience in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing in particular on operational approaches and options for serodiscordant couples in these countries.