Immune recovery and opportunistic infection prophylaxis

Before the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), HIV-positive people with low CD4 cell counts often needed preventive drugs, or prophylaxis, to reduce the occurrence of then-common opportunistic infections such as Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), Mycobacterium avium intracellulare (MAI), cytomegalovirus (CMV) and toxoplasmosis. The risk of specific opportunistic infections rises once a person's CD4 cell count falls below a certain level. For example, PCP typically occurs in people with a CD4 count of less than 200 cells/mm3.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that people who respond to antiretroviral therapy with sustained immune recovery can safely discontinue prophylaxis for opportunistic infections, demonstrating the body's capacity to regain immune function with effective treatment. The benefits of stopping prophylaxis include reduced ‘pill burden’, fewer side-effects, lower risk of drug interactions and reduced cost .

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.