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05/10/2013
France adopts new national policy to test and treat HIV

Country implements combined prevention and the use of drugs as prevention

The French Ministry of Health recently announced its new recommendations for the treatment of people living with HIV (PLHIV). The main novelties are the adoption of antiretroviral therapy in all PLHIV and the promotion of a “combined prevention” which associates behavioral measures, testing strategies and antiretroviral therapy. The announcement was made after broad discussion with key actors of HIV care, prevention and research in the country.

According to Fábio Mesquita, director of the Brazilian Ministry of Health’s Department of STDs, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis, the recommendations approved in France make that country the second in the world after the U.S. to adopt the form of treatment as prevention (Test and Treat – TasP). “It is very positive that France, one of the most developed countries in the area of HIV, has adopted these measures, nowadays backed by abundant scientific evidence”, he stated.

The new guidelines for treatment are already being considered as a reference by the professionals in HIV infection. The report of the measures will be made available online in October on the French Ministry of Health website (www.sante.gouv.fr).

For the first time, the responsibility for the 2013 report was entrusted to CNS (National AIDS Council) and to ANRS (National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis). Professor Phillippe Morlat (Hospital and University of Bordeaux), was in charge of coordinating the report.

The 2013 expert group is comprised of 21 clinicians, biologists and scientists, and two representatives of civil society organizations. The group also counted on the expertise of 16 thematic commissions and the contributions of other qualified professionals. In total, more than 240 collaborators, from varied horizons, participated in this new report. Half of the experts of the 2013 group were renewed compared with the preceding group. Public declarations of interest from the members of the group are available on the CNS website (http://www.cns.sante.fr/spip.php?article480).

The recommendations take into account the analysis of the data available in the areas of epidemiology, prevention and testing, antiretroviral therapy for adults and children and their clinical and virological surveillance. Clinical, biological and therapeutic management of coinfections, the desire to have children and pregnancy, blood and sexual exposure accidents were also considered. Knowledge of the organization of care, living conditions of people living with HIV/AIDS, socioeconomic data and ethical considerations were also taken into account in decision making.

See here the ANRS release on the new recommendations (in French).