Guardian Examines Barriers To Prescribing ART To All Children Under 5 As Recommended By WHO

Noting the WHO in June “published new guidelines on the prescription of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) for the treatment of HIV positive patients,” which included “a recommendation to prescribe ART to all children under five, whatever their CD4 count (a measure of the strength of the immune system),” The Guardian’s “Global Development Professionals Network” blog examines whether the new guidelines can “help break down the barriers to access to treatment.” The newspaper writes, “Most health professionals think so, simply by virtue of not requiring a CD4 count before putting a child on treatment,” but “extending ART to millions more children presents challenges, chief among them identifying HIV positive children.” The Guardian quotes a number of experts — including Allan Mayi, senior technical adviser at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) in Turkana, Kenya; Jennifer Cohn, medical director of the [Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)] Access Campaign; Laura Guay, vice president for research at EGPAF; and Kay Mahomed, an HIV consultant — who highlight additional challenges, such as a lack of trained health workers, availability of drugs, and “a growing cohort of HIV positive teenagers” (Filou, 9/12).