Monday, 29 March 2010

Treatment for HIV Being Missed?

From the BBC website
The opportunity to save tens of thousands of HIV patients with a simple, cheap, drug treatment is being missed, say researchers.
According to this article on the BBC website, administering a certain antibiotic would significantly reduce the death toll in the early stages of the disease, possibly halving the mortality rate.

This treatment is endorsed by the WHO, but people are not being given the drug, co-trimoxazole. The pharmaceutical battle against HIV has been on antiretroviral drugs, which can greatly extend life and probably earn the pharmaceutical companies a lot more money, but that's just cynical old me.

The addition of co-trimoxazole, an inexpensive antibiotic, to the long-term treatment plan of those with the worst affected immune systems appears to prevent many deaths.

A study carried out among 3,179 Ugandan patients, suggested a fall of 59% over the first 12 weeks, and 44% between 12 and 72 weeks.

Dr Alvaro Bermejo, the executive director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, said, "We need to remember that there are still millions of people in Africa who need antiretrovirals and can't access them.

"In Uganda the Alliance is seeing people turned away from clinics because they don't have the treatment available.

"As the study confirms, antiretroviral treatment cuts the risk of death by more than 90% - with co-trimoxazole reducing the risk still further.

"We have the knowledge available to save lives but we need to increase efforts to make sure that everyone who needs treatment can actually access it."

Read the full BBC article HERE

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