Resistance to drugs hampers HIV treatment

Resistance to drugs used for treating HIV/Aids has increasingly come under the spotlight given the impact this could have on the progress made in managing the disease. 

Experts say there is a big risk in treating and preventing the condition if early and effective action is not taken.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on countries to urgently review their treatment programmes.

Detailed findings in The WHO HIV drug resistance report 2017, based on a national research conducted in several countries, reveal that in six of the 11 countries surveyed in Africa, Asia and Latin America, over 10 per cent of people starting antiretroviral therapy have a strain of HIV that is resistant to some of the most widely used HIV medicines.

The WHO recommends that once the threshold of 10 per cent has been reached, the countries should review their HIV treatment programmes immediately.

“Antimicrobial drug resistance is a growing challenge to global health and sustainable development,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Drug resistance develops when people do not adhere to a prescribed treatment plan, often because they do not have consistent access to quality HIV treatment and care.

Individuals with HIV drug resistance will start to be unresponsive to therapy and may also transmit drug-resistant viruses to others. The level of HIV in their blood will increase unless they change to a different treatment regimen, which could be more expensive and in many countries, still harder to obtain. Read more via Business Daily