Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Clues to ensuring anti-HIV drugs are taken in Africa

HIV-infected patients in the African country of Tanzania were more likely to stop taking their medications and to fail treatment if they had to pay for the drugs themselves.

According the results of a new study conducted by Tanzanian physicians and Duke University Medical Center researchers, HIV-infected patients who openly discussed their illness were also more likely to fare better.

“Our findings suggest that efforts to provide free medication to HIV-infected patients and to promote social coping may increase the chances that patients will continue taking their medications and therefore have stronger immune systems and live longer,” said Habib Ramadhani, M.D., physician at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre and lead author of a paper appearing early online in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. Infectious disease specialists from Duke collaborate with the Kilimanjaro medical center physicians at a clinic in Moshi, Tanzania.

The findings of this and other studies in sub-Saharan African countries should help policy makers and physicians figure out how best to direct and manage the increase in the amount of powerful HIV-fighting drugs that are flowing into the continent, the researchers said. This group of drugs, known generally as anti-retroviral therapy, can suppress the levels of virus in the blood to almost non-detectable levels and prolong life.

In order to better understand the barriers that may keep patients in such economically challenged countries from successfully fighting the disease, the researchers studied 150 HIV-infected patients seen at the Moshi clinic, paying particular attention to how well patients were adhering to their medication regimens and how successfully the levels of virus in the blood was responding to the therapy.

About one in six of the patients reported not taking their medications according to schedule, and the patients more likely to have stopped complying were those who had spent a larger proportion of their time on treatment paying for the antiretroviral medicines themselves. These patients typically used their scant resources on other necessities, such as food and shelter, rather than the medicines, researchers said.

They also found that about one in three patients had increases in the level of virus in the blood consistent with treatment failure, and not surprisingly, the patients who were not taking their drugs were more likely to have treatment failure.

“Another quite interesting finding was that being public about their HIV status was associated with suppression of virus,” Ramadhani said. “There still is a substantial stigma associated with HIV in Africa. It is likely that individuals infected with HIV who discussed their disease with friends or family members are likely living in supportive environments that promote adherence.”

The researchers also found that the farther away patients were from the clinic, the less likely they would take their drugs as instructed.

“This study has identified critical factors that affect the success of antiretroviral therapy programs in Africa, and we believe that these findings should be incorporated by policy makers into practice,” said Duke’s John Crump, M.B., Ch.B, who specializes in infectious diseases and international health and is a senior member of the research team. “These drugs, which are known to work, should be free and readily available.

“Structural barriers to care, such as the distance to clinics and especially the burden of patients paying for their medication, must be removed,” Crump continued. “Social coping, including the disclosure of HIV status to people to family and friends leads to better adherence to medication and lower rates of treatment failure.”

According to Michael H., Merson. M.D., director of the Duke Global Health Institute, "This study nicely illustrates some of the factors that need to be considered in reducing the health disparities between the haves and have nots throughout the world, and the value of exploring ways to eliminate them through a multidisciplinary lens. Reducing costs, increasing access and lessening stigma are all necessary for providing good AIDS treatment."

Richard Merritt | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>