Rapid Initiation of Antiretroviral Therapy for People with HIV

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is recommended for all people with HIV to improve and preserve their health and to reduce transmission of HIV to others. Increasingly, rapid ART starts have become a clinical and public health priority, with the Department of Health and Human Services Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents recommending that ART be started as soon as possible after HIV diagnosis. Definitions of what constitutes a rapid start of ART vary; the most stringent is also termed immediate ART and occurs when ART is prescribed on the same day an HIV diagnosis is delivered. This fact sheet reviews the potential benefits and rationale for rapid ART starts, outlines potential pitfalls, and offers practical, evidence-based tips on ART selection for rapid starts.