Media Release

8 December 2016


​Positive Life NSW (PLNSW) urges all people diagnosed with HIV and our clinicians to commence combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART) immediately at the point of diagnosis or to speak with your doctor about your options if you’re yet to start treatments.

In late 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO) revised their Guidelines on when to start Antiretroviral Therapy after the Strategic Timing of Antiretroviral Treatment (START) study showed that immediate use of ART resulted in better clinical outcomes for people living with HIV (PLHIV) compared to delayed treatment. Treatment offers immediate viral suppression, controls viral progression and prevents onward transmission of HIV.

“In line with the WHO recommendation,” said Craig Cooper, CEO of Positive Life, “we take the position, supported by our members, that 100% of diagnosed people living with HIV in NSW initiate cART.

“We understand that some PLHIV need time to make an informed decision about treatment and we support people to delay treatment or ‘opt-out’ from taking medication if they wish,” said Mr Cooper.

“Immediate treatment initiation puts us in the best position for involvement in cure research when this becomes available,” said Mr Cooper “We’ve known for some time that HIV is doing damage from the time you acquire the virus. Immediate treatment means we give our immune system as much help as possible to cease viral replication and prevent disease progression.”

“We encourage people newly diagnosed with HIV to ask for treatment while waiting for test results,” said Mr Cooper. “This will empower people to take control of their health so they can actively do something about the news now they’re living with HIV.”

Media Contact

Craig Cooper, CEO, ​Positive Life NSW (PLNSW) – 0422 509 200 or email


Link to Resources

Guideline on when to start antiretroviral therapy and on pre-exposure prophylaxis of  HIV infectionGuideline on when to start antiretroviral therapy and on pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV

WHO Publication details
Number of pages: 78
ISBN: 978 92 4 150956 5 

Downloads Guideline on when to start ART and on PrEP for HIV [PDF, 2.23Mb]

Policy brief on oral pre-exposure prophylaxis of HIV infection (PrEP)

Annex 2. Evidence to decision-making tables and supporting evidence  [PDF, 8Mb]

About Positive Life

​Positive Life NSW is a NSW-wide community based HIV advocacy and support not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation. We work to promote a positive image of people living with HIV and aim to eliminate prejudice, isolation, stigma and discrimination. We provide information and referrals, and advocate for the needs and rights of PLHIV in NSW.

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