South Africa, which leads the world in HIV infections, said Thursday that it will offer free treatment to all people living with the disease.

Previously, only people with a low white blood cell count were eligible for free treatment.

“This new policy extends this to all people living with HIV,” South Africa's health department said.

More than 3.4 million people in South Africa receive HIV medication. The United Nations last year estimated the number of infections in the nation at seven million.

The health department said that the change was based on guidelines adopted late last year by the World Health Organization (WHO), the AP reported. WHO officials advise treating those with HIV as early as possible.