Dr Julio Montaner and his team of researchers at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS here want governments around the world to provide highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) to HIV-infected persons immediately following their diagnosis, if they are to stem the rate of new infections.
Dr Montaner pointed to research which showed that infected persons on antiretrovirals are less likely to transmit the disease to others.
"HIV incidence decreased by five per cent for each one per cent increase in HAART coverage," he told a Jamaican delegation of journalists and policymakers who are here to observe best practices in Vancouver, Canda under an exchange organised by Panos Caribbean .
The exception of placing newly diagnosed patients on medication, Dr Montaner said, should only be made with persons whose CD4 count is more than 500 and not the 350 specified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and those with undetectable viral loads. Persons who fall in this category are one in every 1,000 infected persons
Under current WHO guidelines for treatment, HIV infected persons should be placed on antiretrovirals when their CD4 count has dropped below 350.