WHO: Treat people with HIV early to stop spread

LONDON (AP) — One HIV expert says it’s a case of “pay now or pay later,” following a new recommendation from the World Health Organization that young children and certain other people with the AIDS virus should be treated earlier — as soon as they are diagnosed.

HIV adviser Sharonann Lynch of Doctors Without Borders says the strategy, though expensive, would result in fewer infections and deaths.

Total global spending on AIDS — about $23 billion a year — would rise by about 10 percent, getting medicine to another 9 million people. Currently, just 60 percent get needed treatment. About 34 million people worldwide have HIV, most in Africa.

WHO says children under 5, pregnant and breast-feeding women, people with uninfected partners and those who also have tuberculosis or hepatitis B should get earlier treatment.

The new guidelines were released at the International AIDS Society meeting in Malaysia.

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