"Medical evidence is clear: All people living with HIV must have access to antiretroviral treatment upon diagnosis. Barriers to access in law, policy, and bias must be confronted and dismantled," declares the Vancouver Consensus, a consensus statement unveiled on the opening night of IAS 2015, in Vancouver, Canada.
The consensus commemorates the last time the global HIV community gathered in Vancouver, in 1996, when data were presented supporting the use of triple-drug combination antiretroviral therapy. Since then, the START study has shown that starting treatment immediately, regardless of a patient's CD4 count, greatly reduces the risk of death and other complications.
In addition, data have shown that effective treatment reduces the transmissibility of HIV, with the final results of the HPTN 052 study (being presented on July 20 at IAS 2015) expected to show a reduction in chances of HIV infection by over 95% in serodiscordant couples.
Although an estimated 15 million people living with HIV worldwide are receiving antiretroviral therapy, "It is time to reach the 60 percent of people living with HIV who are not accessing treatment, including 19 million who do not yet know their status," the Vancouver Consensus states.
Additionally, as part of a combination prevention effort, the consensus calls for PrEP to be made available to those at risk of acquiring HIV.
To help reach these goals and others, the consensus makes a few calls for action, stating:
We call on leaders the world over to implement HIV science and commit to providing access to immediate HIV treatment to all people living with HIV. We call on donors and governments to use existing resources for maximum impact and to mobilize sufficient resources globally to support [antiretroviral] access for all, U.N. 90/90/90 goals for testing, treatment and adherence, and a comprehensive HIV response. We call on clinicians to build models of care that move beyond the clinic to reach all who want and need [antiretrovirals]. We call on civil society to mobilize in support of immediate rights-based access to treatment for all.
Read and sign the Vancouver Consensus.