British HIV Association guidelines for antiretroviral treatment of HIV seropositive individuals. BHIVA Guidelines Co-ordinating Committee

Lancet. 1997 Apr 12;349(9058):1086-92.


Only incomplete data are available to guide decision on anti-HIV treatment. A British HIV Association consensus is that guidance must draw on other evidence besides the randomised trial. Marker studies, work on disease pathogenesis and viral dynamics, and expanding knowledge of resistance patterns mean that the approach to therapy is constantly evolving. There is a need for well-informed dialogue between HIV-infected patient and physician to achieve rational, individualized treatment. However, the following broad principles have a wide consensus amongst HIV-treating physicians in the UK: (1) treatment should be offered before substantial immunodeficiency ensues; (2) initial treatment should include combinations of at least two drugs; (3) switches in therapy should involve substitution or addition of at least two new agents; (4) viral load and CD4 measurements are essential; (5) reduction in viral load to below the detection level of a sensitive assay represents the optimal treatment response and failure to achieve or sustain this control should prompt consideration of therapy modification. This response seems to be achieved most reliably with combinations of two nucleoside analogues plus a third agent (a protease inhibitor, a non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor, or a third nucleoside analogue) or of two protease inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Guideline
  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Viral Load


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors