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!
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences