The importance of HIV care and support services

02 December 2016

HIV care and support refers to key non-antiretroviral therapy clinical services, the treatment of HIV-related infections and non-clinical services that in combination with antiretroviral therapy contribute towards the reduction of rates of ill health and AIDS-related deaths among people living with HIV.

As access to antiretroviral therapy expands around the world and the number of AIDS-related deaths continues to fall, these services are becoming increasingly important. A new UNAIDS publication, HIV care and support, illustrates how essential these services are, taking into account the World Health Organization’s Consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection.

Care and support is important for the following reasons: to facilitate immediate access to treatment when a person is diagnosed with HIV; to support adherence to treatment in order to attain viral suppression for people living with HIV, for the sake of their own health and to prevent infecting other people with HIV; to enhance the prevention and management of HIV-related infections; and to enhance coping with the challenges of living with HIV.


“Access to HIV testing programmes must be expanded so that people who need treatment can be referred immediately and supported to adhere to treatment.”

Mahesh Mahalingham Director, Office of the UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director

“Antiretroviral therapy should be provided immediately to people who test HIV-positive alongside comprehensive care and support, counselling and testing, legal, social and economic support, mental health and emotional support and access to contraceptive and health services.”

Meg Doherty Coordinator Treatment and Care, Department of HIV and Global Hepatitis Programme, World Health Organization